Spector trial hears of 'Russian roulette' with women

Record producer's defence team says actress committed suicide

Six years (and two court cases) after a struggling actress was shot dead at Phil Spector's hill-top castle in Los Angeles, lawyers have made their final arguments at the record producer's murder trial.

Mr Spector is either a "demonic maniac" with "a history of playing Russian roulette with the lives of women", or an innocent bystander who was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. He stands accused of killing Lana Clarkson during a late-night argument in the foyer of his Alhambra mansion.

The jury, which in his previous trial was deadlocked 10-2 in favour of conviction for second degree murder, yesterday heard the closing argument from Mr Spector's defence team: that the 40-year-old woman blew her brains out in an "impulsive and unplanned" suicide.

"This is a circumstantial evidence case. No one can tell you 'this is what happened'," Mr Spector's lawyer Doron Weinberg claimed, before insisting that his client, "did not kill Lana Clarkson, that's what the evidence shows".

Prosecutors say Ms Clarkson died when the eccentric record producer, whom she had met just hours earlier at the House of Blues club in Hollywood, flew into a jealous rage after she tried to leave. In a highly theatrical closing speech, prosecutor Truc Do dimmed the lights before telling the court: "Behind the VIP was a very dangerous man, a man who believed that all women deserve a bullet in their head."

During her two-hour speech, Ms Do showed images of five women who have all said Mr Spector confronted them with guns. "This case is about a man who has had a history of playing Russian roulette with the lives of women," she said. "Five women got the empty chamber. Lana got the sixth bullet."

The prosecutor cited evidence from Mr Spector's chauffeur, who was allegedly told after the incident: "I think I killed somebody!". She also claimed that Mr Spector had tried to wash his hands after police were called. "He can wash his hands clean of her blood but he can't wash them clean of her murder," she said.

The fate of the 69-year-old producer, best known for creating the "wall of sound" recording technique during the 1960s, has been hanging in the balance since the night of Ms Clarkson's death, when he was arrested and released on $1m bail. Both sides agree the victim died sitting in an ornate chair in Mr Spector's hallway on 3 February 2003.

Judge Larry Paul Fidler this week gave his jury of six men and six women the option of considering a lesser count of involuntary manslaughter, if they were unable to unanimously agree that the defendant deliberately pulled the trigger.

Mr Spector has cut a bizarrely emotionless figure throughout proceedings. A packed courtroom, on the ninth floor of LA Superior Court has seen him sport a colourful selection of haircuts and outfits, and varying amounts of make-up.

"Spector looks catatonic," said Royal Oakes, a legal analyst for US television. "You couldn't imagine anyone who seems more disengaged or disinterested. He seems heavily medicated. But how his overall appearance will affect the verdict is anyone's guess."

At the end of the prosecution's final presentation, Mr Spector's lawyer, Mr Weinberg, moved for a mistrial, saying that Ms Do had focused on character assassination rather than the facts of the case. The claim was dismissed.

The defence case revolves around the argument that Ms Clarkson, who starred in the 1980s cult movie Barbarian Queen but had failed to secure significant acting jobs since, was depressed over the state of her career, and decided to shoot herself on a whim, after discovering Mr Spector's personal firearm. The actress was said by friends to be in high spirits at the time of her death. But the suicide theory is supported by paid testimony from several blood-spatter experts – and was enough to create reasonable doubt in the minds of two jurors in the original trial.

Judge Fidler's summing-up is expected to conclude either today or tomorrow, before the jury retires to consider its verdict. Second-degree murder carries a sentence of between 15 years and life. Experts say his decision to allow a conviction on the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter, which carries between two and four years, increases the chances of Mr Spector facing some sort of conviction.

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to US
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday

Actress sees off speculation about her face in an amazing way

News

Florida mother launched a petition to ban the sale of the dolls

Arts and Entertainment
film

Marvel has released first teaser trailer week early after it leaked online

Extras
indybest
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
News
i100
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
Life and Style
health
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Front end web developer - URGENT CONTRACT

£250 - £300 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT** Our...

Health & Social CareTeacher - Full time and Part time

£90 - £140 per day + Mileage and Expenses: Randstad Education Leeds: Sixth for...

History Teacher

£95 - £105 per day: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Plymouth i...

SQL Developer - Cardiff - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits and bonus: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer -...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?