Phil Spector Case Goes to the Jury

Jury deliberations began Thursday in the murder retrial of Phil Spector, who is accused of fatally shooting actress Lana Clarkson in 2003.

The six-man, six-woman jury was handed the case against the 69-year-old music producer about 11:40 a.m., after almost 2 1/2 days of closing arguments and nearly five months of testimony.

Jurors deliberated just over 2 1/2 hours before going home for the day. They are due back at the courthouse Friday morning.

Spector is charged with murder in the Feb. 3, 2003, shooting death of the 40-year-old actress at his Alhambra mansion. The two had met hours earlier at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, where she had recently begun working as a VIP hostess.

Spector claims she shot herself with his gun.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler told jurors that they can consider convicting Spector of involuntary manslaughter as well as second-degree murder.

The option of involuntary manslaughter was not given in Spector's first trial. That jury deadlocked 10-2 in September 2007, with the majority voting in favor of convicting him of murder.


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In his final argument, Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson said Spector has a history of pulling guns on women who wouldn't go to bed with him, especially when he was intoxicated.

"A woman, alcohol, a loss of control, and Phillip Spector reaches for a gun. Click," the prosecutor told jurors repeatedly, displaying photos one-by-one of five women who allege that they were involved in previous gun-related incidents with the music producer.

"Feb. 3, 2003, Lana Clarkson -- a woman, alcohol, a loss of control -- and Phillip reaches for a gun. Pow! ... Lana Clarkson got the bullet. It's as simple as that," Jackson said.

He showed jurors a surveillance photo from the House of Blues parking lot early that morning and asked jurors what they would tell Clarkson.

"You'd simply lean over and say, 'Don't go,"' the prosecutor said.

Jackson told jurors the defense's 14 forensic reasons to acquit Spector fall "like a tin soldier" with the lightest scrutiny, and drew a big red "X" one-by-one through each of the items on a chart prepared by the prosecution.

"Phillip Spector is guilty of murder. (Clarkson's) entitled to your justice," he concluded.

In a closing argument that wrapped up Wednesday afternoon, defense attorney Doron Weinberg urged jurors to acquit his client, saying the forensic evidence shows that "this was a self-inflicted gunshot wound, self-inflicted by Lana Clarkson."

He told the panel to consider where Clarkson was in her life and whether she was capable of a self-destructive act.

Clarkson penned a series of e-mails to friends, including one in which she wrote, "I am truly at the end of this whole deal," and another in which she wrote about being "on the verge of losing it all," Spector's lawyer said. He also noted that she had 1 1/2 times the legal limit of alcohol in her system, along with the prescription drug Vicodin, at the time of her death.

Spector, renowned in music circles for the "Wall of Sound" technique he invented in the 1960s and used in his work with the Beatles and other groups, is free on $1 million bail posted shortly after his arrest.

Clarkson, who was best known for her starring role in the 1985 Roger Corman cult hit "Barbarian Queen," had bit parts on dozens of television shows and in a few well-known movies, such as 1982's "Fast Times at Ridgemont High."

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