Producer Phil Spector convicted of murder in LA

By Jill Serjeant and Alex Dobuzinskis

June 18, 2010 Updated Apr 13, 2009 at 8:11 PM EST

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Eccentric music producer
Phil Spector was convicted Monday of murdering a Hollywood
actress in 2003, and will likely spend the rest of his life in
prison.

In his second trial, held after jurors deadlocked in 2007,
Spector, 69, was found guilty of second-degree murder by a Los
Angeles jury. The man once revered for revolutionizing pop
music in the 1960s with his layered "Wall of Sound" production
technique, faces 18 years to life behind bars when he is
sentenced May 29.

Lana Clarkson, 40, a B-movie actress, died of a shot to the
mouth, fired from Spector's gun in the foyer of his home
outside Los Angeles on Feb. 3, 2003. The two met hours earlier
at a Hollywood nightclub.

California criminal defense attorney Darren Kavinoky said
Spector could be paroled only after spending the initial 18
years in prison.

"He's got a better chance of winning the lottery than ever
being released," said Kavinoky, who was not involved in the
case.

Spector, who worked with The Ronettes, The Beatles, Cher
and Leonard Cohen at the height of his fame, denied murdering
Clarkson. His lawyers said Monday they would appeal.

He did not testify at either trial and although his hands
shook while the verdict was read, he showed little emotion. He
was taken into custody immediately after the verdict.

SPECTOR 'HAS A PROBLEM WITH RAGE'-PROSECUTOR

Prosecutors argued that the shooting of Clarkson was part
of a pattern of gun play and violence that Spector displayed
toward women.

After the verdict, prosecutor Alan Jackson told reporters
Spector "has a problem with rage, and he is a bully."

Spector's lawyers claimed that Clarkson was depressed about
her failing career and committed suicide.

She worked as a hostess at the House of Blues in Hollywood
when she met the man who produced songs like the Righteous
Brothers' hit "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin."' Clarkson
starred in such little-known movies as "Barbarian Queen" and
"Amazon Women on the Moon."

Clarkson's family, who also filed a wrongful death civil
suit against Spector, said they were "pleased that the jury had
rejected the distortion and trashing of (her) life by the
defense."

"Justice has been served," they said in a statement. "Mr.
Spector has to take responsibility for his actions."

The two long trials featured testimony from five women and
a jury visit to the mock castle where the reclusive Spector
lived. None of his old pop music friends testified in his
defense.

Spector attorney Doron Weinberg criticized the decision to
allow several female witnesses to testify about incidents
dating back 20 years. It "left us with very little of a chance
to have a fair trial," Weinberg said.

The jury forewoman told reporters the panel based their
decision on the totality of the evidence, rather than specific
incidents.

Spector had a troubled early life. His father committed
suicide, his sister spent time in mental institutions and
Spector suffered bouts of severe depression.

Shortly before Clarkson was shot, Spector told British
journalist Mick Brown in a rare interview that he had a bipolar
personality and had "devils that fight inside me."

In 2006, he quietly wed for the fourth time, marrying
model/actress Rachelle Short, who is about 30 years his
junior.
(Additional reporting by Bob Tourtellotte.)




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