March 24, 2009 / 11:29 PM / 9 years ago

Forensics show Spector innocent of murder: lawyer

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.

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

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.

Music producer Phil Spector (C) is surrounded by his defense team as he looks back to the gallery during closing arguments at the retrial murder case in Los Angeles March 24, 2009. REUTERS/Lawrence K. Ho/POOL

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.

If convicted of murder, Spector could spend 20 years to life in prison. A manslaughter conviction would result in about 8-10 years behind bars.

Judge Larry P. Fidler listens to defense attorney Doron Weinberg during closing arguments at the retrial murder case of Phil Spector in Los Angeles March 24, 2009. REUTERS/Lawrence K. Ho/POOL

Spector was the producer and co-writer of “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” and also worked with The Ronettes, The Beatles, Cher, Leonard Cohen and The Ramones. None of his former pop music friends testified on his behalf.

Spector has been free on $1 million bail since his arrest in 2003. In 2006, he wed for the fourth time, marrying model/actress Rachelle Short who is about 30 years his junior.

Editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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