The jury could not reach a verdict on whether the producer killed actress Lana Clarkson

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated December 01, 2020 06:24 PM
Credit: Paul Buck/Reuters/landov

The judge has declared a mistrial in Phil Spector’s murder trial because the jury was deadlocked 10-2 and could not reach a verdict, it was announced Wednesday.

The Los Angeles jury had been deliberating for 12 days.

Jurors told Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler they were split, but did not indicate which way they were leaning. Later, a court representative said 10 jurors had voted for guilty and two for not guilty. Fidler discharged the nine men and three women, thanking them for their service.

“We are disappointed the jury was unable to reach a verdict,” Los Angeles district attorney Steve Cooley,” said in a statement. “We will seek the court’s permission to re-try the case and begin immediately to prepare for a re-trial.”

Music producer Spector, 67, is charged with second-degree murder for the death of actress Lana Clarkson.

He denied shooting Clarkson – His legal team argued that her death had been the result of suicide rather than murder.

The fatal incident occurred at Spector’s hilltop, castle-like home in Alhambra, Calif., after he and Clarkson, 40, had been out for a night on the town.

Clarkson was known for her role in Roger Corman’s 1985 cult movie The Barbarian Queen, though her acting career had stalled at the time of her death, and she had been working as a hostess at the House of Blues in West Hollywood the night she went home with Spector.

The jury, consisting of nine men and three women, has been on the case since the panel’s selection on March 19 of this year.

Prosecutor Alan Jackson claimed Spector shot Clarkson in the foyer of his 10-bedroom, eight-bathroom home during the early morning hours of Feb. 3, 2003. He was arrested that day and freed on $1 million bail.

The Bronx-born Spector, who began his career as a musician, is famed for his pioneering “Wall of Sound” technique that featured lush orchestration. Among those he worked with were some of the biggest acts in pop music, including the Beatles, the Righteous Brothers, Ike and Tina Turner and the Ronettes – the ’60s girl group whose leader, Ronnie Bennett, later married Spector. (They divorced in 1974.)

At the same time his star rose, Spector also built a reputation for being a recluse with a history of eccentric – and sometimes violent – behavior, examples of which were discussed on the witness stand during the trial.

His last major album was 27 years ago, when he recorded End of the Century with the Ramones. During the session, the late bassist Dee Dee Ramone recalled that Spector had pulled a gun on the band.


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