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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 April 2007, 14:00 GMT 15:00 UK
Spector's defence accuses police
Phil Spector
Mr Spector appeared tense as he listened to the prosecution
Defence lawyers at music producer Phil Spector's murder trial have claimed the police jumped to conclusions about how a woman died at his house.

Actress Lana Clarkson was found dead at Mr Spector's home in 2003, with gunshot wounds to the face.

The prosecution had told jurors at the Los Angeles trial that Mr Spector had a history of violence against women.

But his lawyer, Bruce Cutler, said detectives had "murder in mind". Mr Spector, 67, has pleaded not guilty.

His defence say Ms Clarkson put a gun in her mouth and shot herself.

Both sides say forensic evidence and the autopsy support their accounts.

Mr Spector, who is famous for his "Wall of Sound" musical technique, appeared tense as he watched the proceedings.

Phil Spector
Spector's wife Rachelle Short has been accompanying him to court
In opening statements, Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson described a pattern of behaviour in Mr Spector, where he would get drunk, take a woman home, and threaten her with a gun if she refused to stay.

Mr Jackson said Mr Spector was someone "who, when he's confronted with the right circumstances, when he's confronted with the right situations, turns sinister and deadly".

He suggested that the actress "was simply the last in a long line of women who fell victim to Philip Spector over the years".

But Mr Cutler said police officers were blinded by the idea of such a famous suspect.

"The evidence will show that back on February 3 of '03, before they even had a cause of death, let alone a manner of death, they had murder on their mind."

He added: "Fame and success come back to haunt you."

Superior Court Judge Larry Fidler has allowed five women to testify about Mr Spector brandishing guns around them between 1988 and 1995, despite objections from Mr Spector's lawyers.

'Bizarre suicide'

B-movie actress Ms Clarkson, who starred in films such as Amazon Women On the Moon and Barbarian Queen, was found at Mr Spector's Los Angeles mansion in February 2003 with a fatal gunshot wound to her face.

Police say the producer told the first officers on the scene that he had killed Ms Clarkson by accident.

Later, he told Esquire magazine she died in a bizarre act of suicide after "kissing" the gun.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Mr Spector could be sentenced to life in prison.

Lana Clarkson
Lana Clarkson was found dead at Spector's mansion
A jury of nine men and three women was sworn in last week for the trial, which is being televised and is expected to last up to three months.

Among those reported to be preparing to act as character witnesses for Phil Spector is John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono.

Mr Spector allegedly once fired a gun over Lennon's head during a recording session with the Beatles.

It is not clear whether Mr Spector, who has shunned the public eye for decades, will testify at the trial.




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Phil Spector denies murder charge
21 Nov 03 |  Americas

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