On February 3, 2003, actress Lana Clarkson was found dead in famed music producer Phil Spector’s mansion, the Pyrenees Castle, located in Alhambra, California. According to police reports, her body was found slumped in a chair with a single gunshot wound to her mouth, her broken teeth all over the carpet.
According to reports, an emergency call was made by his driver Adriano de Souza following hearing gunshots. De Souza said that he saw Spector emerge from the back door of the house with a gun in his hand and said, “I think I’ve killed someone.” However, upon forensic analysis, Spector’s fingerprints were not found on the .38 Colt Cobra revolver.
Spector initially said that the shooting was an accident, but eventually changed his story, claiming that she’d killed herself.
Spector was eventually arrested and charged on second degree murder, but he remained free on $1 million bail until his first murder trial began on March 19, 2007.
Prior to the trial, Judge Larry Fidler ruled in favor of allowing four women to testify to alleged incidents that occurred in 1988, 1991, 1993 and 1995. According to court documents filed by the prosecution in 2005, each woman had had an encounter with Spector where he’d been drinking alcohol with them, but got angry when he turned down their advances and eventually pointed a gun at the women to prevent them from walking out. Two of the four women called the police at the time, but both declined to press charges. The prosecution argued that the women’s testimonies was important in demonstrating a “common plan or scheme.” Judge Fidler said at the time that that evidence “can be used to show lack of accident or mistake” in Spector’s actions on the night of Clarkson’s death.
During the course of the trial, which was televised, Spector went through at least three sets of attorneys. Famed defense attorney Robert Shapiro represented Spector at his arraignment, pretrial hearings and secured his release on $1 million bail. Attorney Bruce Cutler then represented him during the 2007 trial, but withdrew on Aug. 27, 2007, due to a difference of opinion on trial strategy. Attorney Linda Kenney Baden then stepped in as the defense’s lead lawyer for closing arguments. The trial ended in a mistrial as jurors said they couldn’t reach a verdict. The hung jury was 10 to two for conviction.
The retrial of Spector for murder in the second degree began on October 20, 2008. Judge Fidler also presided over the second trial, which was not televised.
On Oct. 20, 2008, Spector was tried again for second-degree murder. On April 13, 2009, the jury found Spector guilty of murdering Clarkson. Spector was sentenced on May 29, 2009 to nineteen years to life in state prison. The music man was also found guilty of using a firearm in the commission of a crime, which added four years to his sentence.
Since 2009, Spector has been serving his sentence at the California Health Care Facility, California State Prison. He will not be eligible for parole until he is 88 years old.