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Spector sentenced to 19 years to life in fatal shooting of actress

May 29, 2009 | 11:37 am

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A judge has sentenced Phil Spector to 19 years to life in prison for the 2003 murder of actress Lana Clarkson.

Before the sentencing, the victim’s mother, Donna Clarkson, told the judge she was heartbroken over the death of her daughter.

“All our plans together are destroyed. Now I can only visit her in the cemetery,” she said.

Spector’s attorney said the defense sympathized with the family “with its loss.” But attorney Doron Weinberg maintained that Spector was convicted wrongly.

“The evidence did not establish Mr. Spector’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,”  the lawyer said.

The 69-year-old music producer, his normally pale face even more wan after a month and a half in jail, stared impassively at the judge as he spoke.

Spector was convicted last month of second-degree murder in the death of Clarkson, 40, who was shot in the music producer’s Alhambra mansion.

Over the course of the six-month trial, the prosecution portrayed Spector, 69, as a sadistic misogynist who had a three-decade “history of playing Russian roulette with the lives of women” when he was drunk.

A prosecutor told jurors in her summation that “by the grace of God, five other women got the empty chamber and lived to tell. Lana just happened to be the sixth woman who got the bullet.”

But Spector’s defense contended Clarkson died by her own hand. They said she was depressed over her flagging career and the accompanying financial worries, and may have committed suicide impulsively after hours of late-night drinking with Spector.

Spector’s six-year odyssey in the Los Angeles County justice system included a grand jury presentation and two trials.

His defense has vowed to appeal the conviction.

-- Harriet Ryan

Photo: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

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