A Los Angeles jury convicted Phil Spector of second-degree murder Monday, making the legendary record producer who worked with the Beatles and a host of other pop stars the first celebrity found guilty of murder on Hollywood’s home turf in at least 40 years.
The verdict came six years and two trials after police found actress Lana Clarkson shot to death in a chair in Spector’s 30-room Alhambra mansion.
As a Superior Court clerk pronounced the word “guilty,” Spector’s mouth gaped slightly, but he quickly returned to the stoic expression he has worn throughout his legal proceedings. His wife, Rachelle, who is 41 years his junior, began weeping in the front row of the spectators’ gallery.
The verdict of second-degree murder — the most severe option offered to jurors — with the use of a firearm means the 69-year-old Spector faces a mandatory life prison term when he is sentenced May 29. He must serve at least 18 years before being eligible for parole.
Spector, dressed in one of his trademark knee-length suit jackets with a “Barack Obama Rocks” pin on his lapel, spoke only once in the courtroom — a hoarse “yes” in response to whether he agreed to the date of sentencing. He shuffled out of the courtroom surrounded by half a dozen uniformed court officers. He looked briefly in the direction of his wife before the door closed behind him.