Jury selected for Phil Spector murder retrial

Thu Oct 23, 2008 5:06pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A jury of seven men and five women was selected on Thursday for music producer Phil Spector's retrial on charges of murdering an actress in 2003, and opening statements are expected to begin next week.

The first jury deadlocked 10-2 in September 2007 in favor of a guilty verdict against the man who pioneered the 1960s "Wall of Sound" pop music technique. California law requires a unanimous verdict to convict or acquit.

Spector, 68, is accused of murdering Lana Clarkson, a 40-year-old B-movie actress who met Spector while she was working as a night club hostess. She was found dead of a gunshot wound to the mouth on February 3, 2003 at the entrance of Spector's fake castle home in the Los Angeles area.

Prospective jurors were questioned this week about their feelings on guns, suicide, how much they knew of the first trial, and whether they felt Spector had a duty to testify.

Spector did not take the stand in the first trial and his defense lawyers argued that Clarkson shot herself because she was depressed over her faltering career.

In the first trial, jurors heard from a number of women who testified that Spector had a history of brandishing guns at women when he was drunk.

The retrial is expected to last about four months.

Spector first found fame as the mastermind behind popular 1960s girl groups and later worked with The Beatles, Cher, The Ramones and Tina Turner.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

<p>Music producer Phil Spector (C) and his wife Rachelle Spector leave Los Angeles Superior Court after the judge declared a mistrial in his murder trial September 26, 2007. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas</p>