Forensics show Spector innocent of murder: lawyer

Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:27pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Forensic evidence in music producer Phil Spector's murder retrial proves he is not guilty of the shooting death of a Hollywood actress six years ago, his lawyer told the jury on Tuesday.

Making his closing arguments after a five-month long retrial, defense attorney Doron Weinberg said the dead woman, Lana Clarkson, shot herself in her mouth and there were no traces of Spector's DNA anywhere on the gun.

"Phillip Spector did not kill Lana Clarkson. That's what the evidence shows. That's what the truth shows," Weinberg told the jury.

"The forensic evidence shows that Phillip Spector is innocent," he said, listing 14 pieces of scientific evidence used by the defense in the trial. Spector's lawyers have argued that Clarkson was depressed over her faltering career as a B-movie actress.

Spector, 69, is charged with murdering Clarkson, 40, on Feb 3, 2003 as she tried to leave his faux castle home outside Los Angeles. The two met for the first time only hours before in a Hollywood nightclub where the B-movie actress was working as a hostess.

The prosecution has argued that the shooting was part of a pattern of gun play and violence toward women displayed by Spector in the past.

Spector's first trial ended in September 2007 when the jury deadlocked 10-2 in favor of convicting him. California law requires a unanimous verdict to convict or acquit, resulting in the new trial.

This time, the judge has given the jury the option of considering a lesser offense of manslaughter when they deliberate over a verdict. The ruling was seen as increasing the chances of a conviction.

Spector, who pioneered the 1960s "Wall of Sound" recording technique, did not take the witness stand at either the first or second trial.   Continued...

<p>Phil Spector arrives at Los Angeles Superior Court in Los Angeles March 23, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>