The jury hearing Phil Spector’s murder retrial found the music producer guilty today of charges of second-degree murder in the death of actress Lana Clarkson. Clarkson died of a gunshot wound at Spector’s Los Angeles mansion in February 2003 under dubious circumstances. Spector’s first trial began in April 2007 and concluded in September 2007 when the jury failed to reach a verdict. Deliberations for Spector’s second murder trial stretched 32 hours over nine days. The 69-year-old Spector faces a minimum of 18 years of prison; he’ll be sentenced on May 29th.
Spector was arrested on February 3, 2003 after his limo driver called police to report a dead body in the foyer of the producer’s mansion. Spector’s chauffeur testified at the initial trial that Spector said to him, “I think I killed somebody.” Spector met Clarkson at the House of Blues, where she worked as a cocktail waitress, and invited her back to his home for a drink; it was the first time the pair had met. Clarkson was found shot in the mouth with a gun next to her body. Police later testified that Spector was uncooperative at the crime scene and had to be tasered for refusing to obey orders.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the jury that convicted Spector consisted of six women and six men, three of whom owned guns. Nine of the jurors knew someone who had committed suicide, and one juror was a fan of Spector’s music. During the trial, the prosecution argued that Spector threatened women with handguns in the past, often engaging in a “history of playing Russian roulette with the lives of women” when drunk. The defense countered that Clarkson was suicidal about her career at the time of her death and was capable of committing a “self-destructive act,” per the L.A. Times.
This trial followed an arc and witness list similar to Spector’s first murder trial, which resulted in the jury being deadlocked 10-2 in favor of a guilty verdict. Spector is famous for his “Wall of Sound” production technique, featured on hits like the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” and the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin.’ ” Spector also produced the Beatles’ Let It Be, John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band and George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass. His last full-album credit came on Yoko Ono’s 1981 album Season of Glass, though he also produced two tracks for Starsailor’s 2004 LP Silence Is Easy.