Mistrial declared as Phil Spector jury hangs 10-2
LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) — A judge declared a mistrial in the murder case against music legend Phil Spector after a jury announced for the second time in eight days that it was hopelessly deadlocked.
Phil Spector did not testify at his five-month murder trial. The jury said it was split 10-2.
The jury deliberated for 12 days, taking six ballots, but was unable to reach a unanimous verdict.
Jurors told Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler they were split 10-2, without indicating which way they were leaning. They added there was nothing Fidler could do to help them arrive at a unanimous verdict.
Fidler discharged the nine men and three women, thanking them for their service. Video Watch what happened in the courtroom »
Spector went on trial in April, charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of B-movie queen Lana Clarkson after a night out in the clubs of Hollywood.
The judge told attorneys to return to his Los Angeles, California, courtroom on October 3 to discuss the next legal move.
Spector, 67, did not take the witness stand at the trial.
Deliberations were arduous, entering the third week on Monday. Last week, jurors received new instructions on the law and were told to start over after the foreman declared the panel was deadlocked 7-5.
The jury’s inability to reach a verdict capped a five-month trial that played like a Hollywood film noir classic — with a twist of the bizarre.
A 6-foot-tall, blue-eyed blonde with a toothpaste commercial smile, Clarkson was known for her roles in “Barbarian Queen” and “Amazon Women on the Moon.” But at 40 the parts were few and far between and she had taken a $9-an-hour job as a VIP hostess at the House of Blues in Hollywood.
Spector invented the “wall of sound” in the 1960s and worked with the Beatles, Ike and Tina Turner and other acts. Normally reclusive, Spector had spent a rare night out on the town, found Clarkson at the House of Blues at closing time and invited her home for a drink in the wee hours of February 3, 2003.
After initially turning him down, she agreed to accompany him, according to testimony.
Hours later, police were summoned to Spector’s mansion in Alhambra, a suburb of Los Angeles. The diminutive music producer had wandered into the driveway in the predawn and told his Brazilian-born chauffeur, “I think I killed somebody,” according to the driver’s testimony.
Clarkson was found inside, slumped in a chair in the foyer. She had been shot in the mouth. A .38-caliber Colt Special revolver lay at her feet. It appeared someone had attempted to clean up the blood with a diaper found in the guest bathroom.
Spector’s attorneys argued that Clarkson was depressed over a recent breakup, grabbed the gun and took her own life.
But prosecution witnesses painted Spector as a gun-toting menace, with five women telling harrowing tales on the witness stand of the music producer threatening them with firearms. Spector’s driver testified he heard a loud noise and saw the producer leave the home, pistol in hand, saying, “I think I killed somebody.”
At issue was whether Spector pulled the trigger — or whether Clarkson did. In photos projected on a large screen, the gruesome crime scene resembled a set decorated for a horror film.
In all, 77 witnesses testified and more than 600 pieces of evidence were submitted. The evidence cart wheeled into the jury room was piled high with exhibits.
The jury even toured the scene of the alleged crime.
The experts’ testimony differed widely on what the physical evidence showed.
Prosecutors pointed to the leopard print purse slung over Clarkson’s shoulder as evidence she was trying to leave when she was shot.
The defense argued that blood-spatter evidence on the white women’s jacket Spector wore showed he was standing too far away to place the gun in Clarkson’s mouth.
Spector hired and fired a who’s who of legal talent for his defense. High profile defense attorneys who have left the case include Leslie Abramson and Bruce Cutler.
He also changed hairstyles several times during the trial, and wore flamboyant clothing, including frock coats and pastel-colored ties and pocket handkerchiefs.