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Phil Spector charged with murder

Record producer allegedly shot Lana Clarkson at his home

Legendary record producer Phil Spector, charged with murder in the shooting death of an actress at his hilltop mansion, told his chauffeur that night that he thought he had “killed somebody,” according to a police report.

POPULAR MUSIC’S one-time whiz kid, whose Wall of Sound brought a symphonic feeling to rock ’n’ roll, was charged Thursday with murder in the death of actress Lana Clarkson.

Spector, 63, declined to speak with reporters when he arrived at court. He acknowledged the charges and waived his right to a speedy trial, and was ordered to return to court Jan. 23 for a preliminary hearing.

The studio producer, who has worked with the Beatles, the Ronettes, Righteous Brothers and many others, is charged with killing Clarkson, 40, on Feb. 3. He suggested earlier this year in an interview with Esquire magazine that Clarkson, who also worked as a hostess at the House of Blues, may have shot herself.

According to police records obtained by the Los Angeles Times for a story in Friday editions, he talked to his chauffeur that night, telling him, “I think I killed somebody.”

The chauffeur, identified only as Souza, told authorities he came to the mansion’s back door after hearing a boom and saw Clarkson, her face bloody, seated in a chair.

Before the report was published, defense attorney Robert Shapiro issued a statement declaring Spector’s innocence.

“We have assembled a team of scientific experts which is among the most respected and prestigious in the world,” Shapiro said. “Based on this team’s findings of this horrible human event, any jury will conclude that Phil Spector is not guilty.”


The complaint filed Thursday by the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office did not specify whether prosecutors will seek a first- or second-degree murder conviction. A first-degree murder charge involves premeditation while a second-degree charge does not.

District attorney spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said either charge carries a possible maximum penalty of life in prison with a possibility of parole.

Spector, who has been free on $1 million bail, was also charged with personally using a handgun in commission of a crime, an enhancement that could add more time to a sentence if he is convicted.

Spector became legendary in the music business for transforming the sound of rock ’n’ roll with heavy orchestration. He once said he was creating symphonies for teenagers. He produced such pop music classics as “Da Doo Ron Ron,” “Then He Kissed Me” and “To Know Him Is to Love Him.”

Clarkson was discovered by B-movie king Roger Corman and starred in a series of films including “Barbarian Queen,” a character Corman said was the model for TV’s “Xena: Warrior Princess.” She appeared in TV commercials and was a guest at comic book and pop culture conventions dressed as her queen character. Corman said she was known for her athletic ability and did all her own stunts.

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