IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Jury at an impasse in Spector murder trial

The jury in the Phil Spector murder trial has informed the judge that they are unable to reach a verdict, an announcement that has judge considering giving jurors the option to consider a manslaughter charge.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The foreman of the jury in Phil Spector’s murder trial said Tuesday that the panel is at an impasse, and the judge told lawyers he was considering allowing the panel to consider a lesser charge.

The juror told Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler the jury was split 7 to 5, but he did not indicate which way it was leaning.

The judge asked if there was any way he could help, including re-reading specific instructions or clarifying instructions, or even having attorneys re-argue part or all of the case.

“At this time I don’t believe that anything else will change the positions of the jurors,” the foreman responded.

Polled individually, some jurors agreed with the foreman and others disagreed. One suggested further instruction about reasonable doubt.

The record producer is charged with second-degree murder, and the judge previously ruled that the panel would decide only that charge and not consider lesser charges such as manslaughter.

The judge, however, told the attorneys that he was reconsidering and believed he might have cause to instruct the jury to consider involuntary manslaughter.

The judge, amid discussions with lawyers, told the jury he wanted them to take a break and sent them home with instructions to return Wednesday, possibly for more instructions or to have the lawyers reargue part of the case.

“Just set the case aside for the rest of the day,” the judge told them.

The defense immediately asked for a mistrial, but the judge denied it on grounds that three jurors indicated further instructions may help.

Spector, 67, is charged in the Feb. 3, 2003, shooting of actress Lana Clarkson, 40. The case went to the jury Sept. 10.

Clarkson was killed by a bullet fired from a gun inside her mouth. The defense contended in the lengthy trial that she had many personal problems and killed herself either by accident or suicide.

Spector was a producer of hit rock music records decades ago, creating what became known as the “Wall of Sound” recording technique.

Clarkson had modest success as the star of Roger Corman’s 1985 cult film “Barbarian Queen.” She was working as a hostess at the House of Blues when she met Spector and went home with him after work, just hours before she died.

Spector and his lawyers all looked grim as they left court. Clarkson’s family members appeared sad as they left.