The jury came back today, after nearly 30 hours of deliberation, with a second-degree murder conviction for Phil Spector. He was taken into custody pending sentencing on May 29. The suggested sentence is 15 years to life, plus three years for using a gun in the commission of a crime. AP's Linda Deutsch points out that the jury opted not to go for involuntary manslaughter.
Spector's young wife, Rachelle, sobbed as the decision was announced. It was Spector's second trial. The first jury deadlocked 10-2, favoring conviction in 2007.
The 40-year-old Lana Clarkson, star of the 1985 cult film "Barbarian Queen," died of a gunshot fired in her mouth as she sat in the foyer of Spector's mansion in 2003. She met Spector only hours earlier at her job as a nightclub hostess.
Prosecutors argued Spector had a history of threatening women with guns when they tried to leave his presence. The defense claimed she killed herself.
The murder case was a flash from Hollywood's distant past, a reminder of the 1960s when Spector reigned as the hit maker supreme with such songs as the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" and the Ronettes' classic, "Be My Baby."
Spector, 69, who had long lived in seclusion at his suburban Alhambra "castle," was out on the town in Hollywood when he met Clarkson on Feb. 3, 2003, at the House of Blues. The tall, blond actress, recently turned 40 and unable to find acting work, had taken a job as a hostess. When the club closed in the wee hours, she accepted a chauffeured ride to Spector's home for a drink. Three hours later, she was dead.
Spector's chauffeur, the key witness, said he heard a gunshot, then saw Spector emerge holding a gun and heard him say: "I think I killed somebody."
The jury forewoman broke into tears at a post-verdict press conference, saying "you are talking about another human being. We all had hearts. We all have people we love."
* Late adds: Scene details from Steven Mikulan at L.A. Daily, and the booking photo of Spector: