1. Archive

Spector charged with murder in mansion shooting

Record producer Phil Spector was charged in an indictment unsealed Monday with murder in the shooting death of a woman at his mansion last year.

Spector, 64, leaned on the arm of his attorney as the indictment in the slaying of Lana Clarkson, 40, was read, but showed no emotion. Outside court, he railed at prosecutors, comparing District Attorney Steve Cooley with Adolf Hitler.

"The actions of the Hitlerlike DA and his storm trooper henchmen are reprehensible, unconscionable and despicable," said Spector, who remains free on $1-million bail.

He spoke briefly in court, answering, "Yes, your honor," to Judge David S. Wesley's questions. Lesley set Dec. 16 as the earliest possible trial date.

Spector, creator of rock music's "Wall of Sound" recording technique in the 1960s, suggested in an interview with Esquire magazine that Clarkson shot herself.

If he had been allowed a preliminary hearing, Spector said, his attorneys would have called to the witness stand three of the foremost forensic scientists and coroners in the world, and each would have testified that Clarkson shot herself.

Prosecutors avoided a preliminary hearing by taking the case directly to a grand jury, which returned the indictments.

District attorney spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said that was done in part to avoid further delay in bringing Spector to trial for the Feb. 3, 2003, shooting.

"It's been almost two years since Ms. Clarkson was killed in Mr. Spector's home, and it's time for a trial," she said. "We believe there is a crime. We charged a crime. And that crime is murder. Nothing is politically motivated in this case."

Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty. If convicted, Spector could receive a life sentence with the possibility of parole.

Clarkson starred in Roger Corman's cult film classic Barbarian Queen. She was working as a host at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip and went home from there with Spector the night she was killed.