Phil Spector Guilty of Murder in Death of Lana Clarkson: What this Means for Songwriter
Famous producer and songwriter Phil Spector has been found guilty of second degree murder in the shooting death of 40-year-old actress Lana Clarkson who, as noted by CNN, was "found dead, slumped in a chair in the foyer of Spector's home with a gunshot wound through the roof of her mouth." The decision was reached after about 32 hours of jury deliberations during the course of about nine days. A prior jury had deadlocked 10-2 (favoring conviction) in Spector's previous trial for second degree murder.
Defense attorneys had argued that Clarkson committed suicide because she was "depressed over a recent breakup", and that the prosecution's case was based heavily on circumstancial evidence. Prosecutors, on the other hand, indicated that Clarkson behaved in a manner inconsistent with someone who was suicidal. Further, they depicted Spector as "a gun-toting menace" and, taking it a step further, a "demonic maniac". CNN noted that "[f]ive women took the stand to tell harrowing stories of being threatened with firearms by Spector." Moreover:
In closing arguments at the retrial, prosecutor Truc Do called Spector "a very dangerous man" who "has a history of playing Russian roulette with women -- six women. Lana just happened to be the sixth."
Unfortunately for Spector, the jury apparently bought into the prosecution's arguments. So what does the guilty verdict mean for Spector? California's murder statute provides for a sentence of 15 years to life in prison for second-degree murder, so he can expect some pretty hefty prison time. A lesser charge, involuntary manslaughter, would have brought a penalty of 2 to 4 years of prison time.
Below are some links to documents, resources, and other news in the case. More on this as it develops.
- CNN: Jury reaches verdict in Phil Spector retrial
- Murder Indictment (California v. Spector) (FindLaw)
- California Murder and Manslaughter Statutes (FindLaw)
- Murder vs. Manslaughter (provided by Mark A. Perez, P.C.)
- L.A. Times: Prosecutor, in closing arguments, calls Phil Spector a 'demonic maniac'
- CNN: Spector trial headed for deja vu?
- AP: Judge declares mistrial in Spector case (msnbc.com)
- CNN: Record producer Phil Spector charged with murder
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