Page last updated at 22:33 GMT, Thursday, 26 March 2009

Jury goes out in Spector retrial

Phil Spector in court, 25 March 2009
Phil Spector has always denied murdering Lana Clarkson in 2003

The jury in the murder retrial of music producer Phil Spector has retired to consider its verdict.

He is accused of killing actress Lana Clarkson, a charge he denies. She died of a single gunshot wound while at Mr Spector's Los Angeles mansion in 2003.

In closing arguments, Mr Spector's lawyer said Ms Clarkson killed herself. Prosecutors allege he fired the shot.

The jury must decide whether to acquit Mr Spector or find him guilty of murder or a lesser charge of manslaughter.

If convicted of second degree murder, the 69-year-old faces 15 years to life in prison. The jury may also consider involuntary manslaughter, which would mean up to four years of jail time.

The music producer's first trial ended in September 2007 with the jury split 10-2 - with most in favour of convicting him of second-degree murder. Under California law, a unanimous verdict is required.

Forensic evidence

The jurors in the retrial have heard five months of testimony.

In closing arguments on Tuesday, Mr Spector's lawyer, Doron Weinberg, listed 14 pieces of forensic evidence to back up the claim that Lana Clarkson's wounds were self-inflicted.

Lana Clarkson
Lana Clarkson appeared in the cult sci-fi movie Barbarian Queen

"Mr Spector did not kill Lana Clarkson. That's what the evidence shows," he said.

The prosecution, who made their closing arguments before the defence, accused Mr Spector of demonstrating a "conscious disregard for human life".

The court had earlier heard five women from Mr Spector's past give evidence. They all claimed the star had confronted them with guns when they tried to leave his mansion in unrelated incidents.

Ms Clarkson, 40, had gone home with Mr Spector on 3 February 2003, after meeting him in a Hollywood nightclub where she was working as a hostess.

A couple of hours later, she was dead of a gunshot to the mouth.

Mr Spector, who became famous for inventing the Wall of Sound recording technique in the 1960s, was in court during the closing arguments, as were a number of his relatives and friends.

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