Spector jury to tour music producer's mansion
Twelve citizens charged with deciding whether Phil Spector murdered an actress are set to tour the legendary music producer’s mansion Thursday morning. Jurors will inspect several areas of the 30-room Alhambra residence, including the foyer where Lana Clarkson suffered a fatal gunshot wound six years ago.
With the judge, lawyers, the defendant and journalists looking on, the panelists will also view the motor court where a chauffeur claims he heard Spector admit shooting the 40-year-old Clarkson. Spector’s defense contends that Clarkson committed suicide at the turreted hillside home known as the Pyrenees Castle. Prosecutors maintain that he shot her when she tried to curtail what he hoped would be a romantic evening. A 2007 trial ended in a hung jury, with panelists split 10 to 2 in favor of conviction.
Prosecutors initially opposed taking the jurors to the home because of what they said were e-mails suggesting that the defense in the first trial may have elevated the volume of a fountain in advance of the visit. The noise from the fountain is key to the defense claim that the chauffeur misheard Spector. After a prosecution investigator inspected the fountain, and Spector assured the court its pipes had not been altered, Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler said there was no evidence of tampering. He ordered the fountain to be turned on during the visit, but he said he will tell jurors there is no way to ensure the volume is the same as the night in question.
During the first jury’s tour of the house, panelists surprised onlookers by presenting a list of questions about the scene for the judge and attorneys. Fidler told the current jury today that they had the option of writing down questions.
“It’s a one-time opportunity if there is something there you feel is important,” the judge told the jury of seven men and five women. The trial began in October and is expected to continue for at least several more weeks. Spector is facing a minimum of 18 years in prison if convicted of second-degree murder.
-- Harriet Ryan