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Last Updated: Friday, 21 November 2003, 04:25 GMT
Phil Spector denies murder charge
Phil Spector (L) and Robert Shapiro outside the Alhambra courthouse
Mr Spector has hired lawyer Robert Shapiro of OJ Simpson fame
Legendary record producer Phil Spector has appeared before a California court, formally charged with murder.

B-movie actress Lana Clarkson was found at his mansion in February with a fatal gunshot wound to her face.

Mr Spector pleaded not guilty to her murder during a brief hearing in Alhambra, near Los Angeles.

Mr Spector made his name in the 1960s, when his Wall of Sound technique transformed pop music and he produced acts like the Beatles and the Ronettes.

He remains free on $1m bail.

District attorney spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said prosecutors believe Spector pulled the trigger.

"We feel that the evidence that we have is sufficient," she said.

Top counsel

Mr Spector's lawyer, Robert Shapiro - who defended OJ Simpson - entered a plea of not guilty on his client's behalf.

Lana Clarkson
Lana Clarkson was found in the foyer of Spector's home
In June, Mr Spector told Esquire magazine that Ms Clarkson had died in a bizarre act of suicide, after "kissing" the gun.

However the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office ruled that the 40-year-old was the victim of homicide.

Mr Spector met the statuesque Ms Clarkson at Hollywood's House of Blues club, where she worked as a hostess, before taking her to his hilltop mansion.

Police were called when a gunshot was heard at the house.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Mr Spector could face a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Phil Spector: Pop innovator
20 Nov 03 |  Entertainment
Death at Spector's home 'homicide'
22 Sep 03 |  Entertainment
Spector: Actress 'shot herself'
04 Jun 03 |  Entertainment

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