RECORD PRODUCER PHIL SPECTOR FOUND GUILTY OF MURDER.
Specifically, second-degree murder, the verdict following the second trial for the 2003 death of actress Lana Clarkson, after the first trial in 2007 ended in a 10-2 deadlock (favoring conviction). The 69-year-old record producer is looking at 18 years to life.
Re-reading the details of the night in question makes me wonder how the first jury deadlocked, even though it was favoring a conviction. He met the 40-year-old frustrated actress while she was working as a hostess at the House of Blues venue in Los Angeles. On the night in question they conversed about her stalled career (no substantial roles since she starred in such '80s fare as "The Barbarian Queen" and "Fast Times at Ridgement High") and later in the night decided to go home with Spector. After several hours of drinking, she was shot in the mouth and killed in a chair in the foyer of Spector's mansion as she was preparing to leave.
The prosecution said Spector, notorious for threatening women with handguns after drinking, tried to stop the actress from leaving his house. Putting the gun to her face, there was, presumably, a struggle, and the gun went off and she was killed.
The defense said Clarkson, despondent over her stalled career, decided to commit suicide on the spot, using Spector's own gun (!).
Spector's Brazilian chauffeur, Adriano De Souza, said his boss appeared to be intoxicated and that Ms Clarkson was initially reluctant to go home with the music producer. Appearing at the door only moments later, he said Spector said, "I think I killed somebody," a particularly damning bit of evidence the defense rejected, saying a slight language barrier confused the driver as to what was actually said.
The prosecution lined up five women from Spector's past who all said the bit with the gun was typical of his behavior after drinking. The defense said his past has no bearing on this case and will use that as grounds for appeal.
To me, the likliest scenario is the very attractive, statuesque blonde didn't want to put out for Spector, he felt enraged at the rejection, and started the BS with the gun. I don't think anybody believes he meant to kill the woman, but his negligent and reckless behavior resulted in her death, ergo the second-degree conviction. In retrospect, it's amazing an accident like this didn't happen sooner.
It is the first murder conviction for a major celebrity in memory. The O.J. Simpson trial resulted in an aquittal as did the Robert Blake case. In both those cases compelling evidence was overlooked or ignored by a sympathetic jury (IMHO). Spector's original trial ended in deadlock.
MARILYN CHAMBERS, R.I.P.
Porno legend Marilyn Chambers was found dead at the age of 56 earlier this week at her Los Angeles County home by her 17-year-old daughter. As of this writing (April 15, 2009) no cause of death was given.
I first became familiar with her when "Insatiable" came out in the '70s, thinking it was really a classy porno movie, a fairly big-budget film with top-drawer production values. Most other fans know her from "Behind the Green Door". She also starred in David Cronenberg's "Rabid".
Assistant PCR editor Terence Nuzum discovered that while she was becoming famous for "Behind the Green Door" she was also the model adorning the cover of Ivory Snow laundry detergent.
At the time, I figured her to be the deserving heir to the throne of Linda Lovelace ("Deep Throat"). Those were the days.