Jurors in the Phil Spector murder case will resume deliberations Thursday with new jury instructions.
After jurors said Wednesday they were wrestling with the meaning of reasonable doubt in the instructions, L.A. Superior Court Judge Larry Fidler told them it would be withdrawn. Fidler also decided that it would be inappropriate to allow the jury to consider the lesser charge of manslaughter.
The jurors, who have been deliberating since Sept. 10, told Fidler on Tuesday that they were split 7-5 and unable to reach a verdict in the shooting death of Lana Clarkson. They did not indicate which way they were leaning.
Spector has been charged with second-degree murder and faces a possible life sentence if found guilty.
On Tuesday, Fidler told counsel that he was considering allowing the jury to deliberate on the lesser charge of manslaughter. On Wednesday, he concluded that it would be improper to introduce a new charge after the jury told him they were deadlocked.
The nine-man, three-woman jury deliberating Spector’s fate includes Dateline NBC senior producer Adam Gorfain. In his juror questionnaire, he acknowledged that he had voluminous knowledge of the case and that his work focused on high-profile crime stories.
On Feb. 3, 2003, nightclub hostess and B movie-actress Lana Clarkson, 40, was found at his mansion in Alhambra. On Nov. 20, 2003, Spector, 67, was indicted for Clarkson’s murder.
During the four-month trial, which began on March 19 in downtown Los Angeles, the defense claimed the death was a suicide and offered testimony that Clarkson was depressed about her career, as well as forensic evidence that she shot herself in the mouth. The prosecution contended Spector had a history of threatening women with guns and that he shot Clarkson after she declined to spend the night with him. Spector’s chauffeur, Adriano DeSouza testified that Spector emerged from the house immediately after the gunshot holding a gun in his bloody hand and stated, “I think I killed somebody.” Spector did not take the stand in his own defense.
Spector had a decades-long career as a musician, songwriter, and most of all, record producer, where he pioneered the Wall of Sound. During the 1960s he worked with several bands, notably the Righteous Brothers, Ike and Tina Turner and the Ronnettes.