Spector murder trial begins


Summary

Phil Spector had a "rich history of violence against women" that ended with him shooting dead a B-movie actress, said prosecutors.

Prosecutors made the comments at the opening of legendary music producer's murder trial in the US.

Spector, 67, the reclusive musical genius who pioneered the 1960s "Wall of Sound" recording technique, is accused of gunning down 40-year-old Lana Clarkson at his imposing neo-gothic estate on February 3, 2003.

In opening statements at the highest-profile celebrity trial in Los Angeles since the 1995 OJ Simpson case, prosecutors painted a portrait of Spector as a man with a decades-old history of violent rages towards women.

"The evidence is going to paint a very, very clear picture of a man, Phil Spector, who turns sinister, turns deadly in certain circumstances," prosecutor Alan Jackson told the hearing at Los Angeles Superior Court.

"It is going to paint a picture of a man who put a loaded pistol inside Lana Clarkson's mouth and shot her to death."

Jackson said several women would be called to testify that Spector had threatened them with firearms, often after flying into a violent drunken rage as they tried to leave his home.

"Lana Clarkson was the last in a long line of women who fell victim to Philip Spector over the years," Jackson said.

A gruesome crime scene photograph of Clarkson slumped in a chair in the foyer of Spector's Castle-like home, covered in blood from a gunshot wound to her face, was shown to the jury during the morning's hearing.

Spector, wearing a tan three-piece suit with a knee-length jacket, trademark platform shoes and a strikingly wide-collared purple shirt, fidgeted and looked tense as prosecutors laid out their case.

Famed for his work with The Beatles, Tina Turner, The Righteous Brothers, The Ronettes and the Ramones, Spector faces up to 15 years in prison if he is convicted of second degree murder.

Jackson said a chauffeur who had been waiting in the driveway of Spector's home on the night of Clarkson's death saw the producer emerge from his house holding a pistol before saying: "I think I killed somebody."

Jackson played a tape of the 911 call driver Adriano De Souza made after the shooting.

"I think my boss killed somebody," De Souza was heard telling the operator, adding that he had seen Spector holding a gun.

The manner of Clarkson's murder fit the pattern of Spector's violent behviour towards women over the years, the court was told.

"This pattern emerges: the defendant had been drinking, he had a romantic interest in the woman, they are home alone, she tries to leave, he flies into a rage, he pulls a gun," Jackson said.

Clarkson was killed only hours after meeting Spector for the first time at the Hollywood nightclub where she worked as a hostess. She was dead by the next morning at his home.

Spector is regarded as one of the most influential figures in rock-pop music history. In the early 1960s he was responsible for hits including "Da Doo Ron Ron," "Be My Baby, Baby" and "You've
Lost That Lovin' Feelin."

His trial has been repeatedly delayed due to legal wrangling and scheduling conflicts.

Spector, who a few weeks before the shooting described himself as "relatively insane" and tortured by "devils inside me," has strongly denied murder, telling Esquire magazine in 2003 that Clarkson shot herself.

Clarkson starred in movies such as 1987's "Amazon Women on the Moon" and 1991's "The Haunting of Morella," but her career had stalled at the time of her death. Spector's defence lawyers are expected to portray Clarkson as a mentally unstable woman who was depressed about her fading career and finances.


Phil Spector had a "rich history of violence against women" that ended with him shooting dead a B-movie actress, said prosecutors.

Prosecutors made the comments at the opening of legendary music producer's murder trial in the US.

Spector, 67, the reclusive musical genius who pioneered the 1960s "Wall of Sound" recording technique, is accused of gunning down 40-year-old Lana Clarkson at his imposing neo-gothic estate on February 3, 2003.

In opening statements at the highest-profile celebrity trial in Los Angeles since the 1995 OJ Simpson case, prosecutors painted a portrait of Spector as a man with a decades-old history of violent rages towards women.

"The evidence is going to paint a very, very clear picture of a man, Phil Spector, who turns sinister, turns deadly in certain circumstances," prosecutor Alan Jackson told the hearing at Los Angeles Superior Court.

"It is going to paint a picture of a man who put a loaded pistol inside Lana Clarkson's mouth and shot her to death."

Jackson said several women would be called to testify that Spector had threatened them with firearms, often after flying into a violent drunken rage as they tried to leave his home.

"Lana Clarkson was the last in a long line of women who fell victim to Philip Spector over the years," Jackson said.

A gruesome crime scene photograph of Clarkson slumped in a chair in the foyer of Spector's Castle-like home, covered in blood from a gunshot wound to her face, was shown to the jury during the morning's hearing.

Spector, wearing a tan three-piece suit with a knee-length jacket, trademark platform shoes and a strikingly wide-collared purple shirt, fidgeted and looked tense as prosecutors laid out their case.

Famed for his work with The Beatles, Tina Turner, The Righteous Brothers, The Ronettes and the Ramones, Spector faces up to 15 years in prison if he is convicted of second degree murder.

Jackson said a chauffeur who had been waiting in the driveway of Spector's home on the night of Clarkson's death saw the producer emerge from his house holding a pistol before saying: "I think I killed somebody."

Jackson played a tape of the 911 call driver Adriano De Souza made after the shooting.

"I think my boss killed somebody," De Souza was heard telling the operator, adding that he had seen Spector holding a gun.

The manner of Clarkson's murder fit the pattern of Spector's violent behviour towards women over the years, the court was told.

"This pattern emerges: the defendant had been drinking, he had a romantic interest in the woman, they are home alone, she tries to leave, he flies into a rage, he pulls a gun," Jackson said.

Clarkson was killed only hours after meeting Spector for the first time at the Hollywood nightclub where she worked as a hostess. She was dead by the next morning at his home.

Spector is regarded as one of the most influential figures in rock-pop music history. In the early 1960s he was responsible for hits including "Da Doo Ron Ron," "Be My Baby, Baby" and "You've
Lost That Lovin' Feelin."

His trial has been repeatedly delayed due to legal wrangling and scheduling conflicts.

Spector, who a few weeks before the shooting described himself as "relatively insane" and tortured by "devils inside me," has strongly denied murder, telling Esquire magazine in 2003 that Clarkson shot herself.

Clarkson starred in movies such as 1987's "Amazon Women on the Moon" and 1991's "The Haunting of Morella," but her career had stalled at the time of her death. Spector's defence lawyers are expected to portray Clarkson as a mentally unstable woman who was depressed about her fading career and finances.