Music producer Phil Spector convicted of murder

Monday, April 13, 2009

Pop music producer Phil Spector, who produced a large number of hit records in the 1960s and 1970s, has been convicted of second-degree murder in the 2003 shooting of actress Lana Clarkson at the L.A. Superior Court in Los Angeles, California. Spector, currently 68, faces a minimum of 18 years in prison.

Clarkson died February 3, 2003 at Spector's mansion, the "Pyrenees Castle", in Alhambra, California, after returning home with Spector for a drink after they met during her shift at a nightclub where she worked as a hostess. Spector was arrested after police were called to the mansion, finding Clarkson dead of a gunshot wound; Spector insisted that her death was an "accidental suicide".

The jury in the trial deliberated for 32 hours over a period of nine days. The trial was the second on the charge, after the judge in the original trial declared a hung jury in the first.

The defense had argued that the 40-year-old actress was in a state of suicidal depression over her career and was capable of an impulsive act of self-destruction. Spector was however alleged to have said "I think I killed someone" after Clarkson was found dead, and jurors heard that he also considered himself "relatively insane" and a sufferer of bipolar disorder.

Phil Spector is widely credited with inventing the "wall of sound" production technique which was prominent in the sounds of many rock & roll groups, such as The Ronettes, to whose lead singer Spector was married, and the Righteous Brothers. Spector also produced the Beatles album Let It Be.

Lana Clarkson starred in the 1985 film "Barbarian Queen".