Music producer Spector faces sentencing for murder

By AFP

June 18, 2010 Updated May 29, 2009 at 4:11 AM EDT

Legendary music producer Phil Spector was to be sentenced Friday after being found guilty last month of murdering an actress at his Los Angeles mansion six years ago.

Spector, 69, who created the famed "Wall of Sound" recording technique during the 1960s, could be jailed for nearly 20 years if Los Angeles Judge Larry Paul Fidler follows recommendations from prosecutors.

Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson said in a motion filed earlier this month that Spector should be sentenced to 19 years for killing Lana Clarkson, best known for her role in cult 1985 film "The Barbarian Queen."

Although the mandatory sentence is 15 years to life, Jackson argued Spector should face an additional four years for personal use of a gun in the crime.

Clarkson was found slumped in a chair with a gunshot wound to the head in the foyer of Spector's castle-like home on February 3 2003, only hours after meeting the producer for the first time at the nightclub where she worked.

During Spector's retrial, defense lawyers said the 40-year-old, whose career had stalled at the time of her death, had killed herself.

Spector is regarded as one of the most influential figures in pop music history. In the early 1960s, he scored hits including "Da Doo Ron Ron," "Be My Baby, Baby" and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'."

But during his two murder trials, prosecutors said Spector, who was famed for his work with The Beatles, Tina Turner, The Righteous Brothers, The Ronettes and The Ramones, had a sinister side.

Jackson painted a picture of Spector as a gun-crazed eccentric with a "history of violence" toward women who tried to leave him.

Five female acquaintances testified that Spector had threatened them at gunpoint in incidents dating back to the 1970s.

Spector's former chauffeur also gave damaging evidence, telling jurors that on the night of the shooting, his employer had emerged from a doorway clutching a pistol in a bloodied hand, saying: "I think I killed somebody."

Only weeks before Clarkson's killing, Spector gave a rare interview in which he described himself as "relatively insane."

Defense lawyers however argued there was no forensic evidence to convict Spector, pointing to the absence of gunshot residue on his hands and clothing.

In his sentencing recommendation however, prosecutor Jackson accused Spector of "pulling guns on women for decades" and gave a graphic description of how police believe Clarkson was killed.

"Spector had pulled a loaded gun from the bureau drawer and threatened Lana with it as she attempted to leave the residence," Jackson wrote.

"As Lana was seated in a chair by the back door with her purse slung on her right shoulder Spector produced the gun, the end result of which was Lana being shot through the mouth as she recoiled in fear."




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