New jury hears arguments in Spector murder retrial

By: AP
By: AP
A prosecutor on Wednesday portrayed eccentric musical genius Phil Spector as a man who repeatedly threatened women with guns and could become "very sinister, very violent and very deadly" when he was drunk.

Music Producer Phil Spector listens during a hearing Thursday, May 22, 2008, in the Lana Clarkson murder case at Los Angeles County Superior Court. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler, who is awaiting a California Supreme Court decision on whether he will preside over Phil Spector's second murder trial, went ahead and set a new trial date of Sept. 29. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A prosecutor on Wednesday portrayed eccentric musical genius Phil Spector as a man who repeatedly threatened women with guns and could become "very sinister, very violent and very deadly" when he was drunk.

Prosecutor Alan Jackson set sights on the defendant during his opening statement in Spector's retrial on a murder charge in the 2003 death of actress Lana Clarkson. Prosecutors claim Spector shot her after she resisted his sexual advances.

In a speech reminiscent of the one he gave at the first trial, Jackson briefly described the killing of Clarkson at Spector's mansion and displayed photos showing her in life and death. One image showed her body slumped in a chair with blood all over her face.

Jackson also recounted the statement of a chauffeur who told of Spector emerging from the house saying: "I think I killed somebody."

Jackson delivered his statement before a packed courtroom, with Clarkson's mother and sister seated in the front row. Spector wore a black pinstriped suit and white tie and was accompanied to court by his wife, Rachelle, and a bodyguard.

The defense's opening statement was expected later in the day. In Spector's first trial, the defense argued the 40-year-old Clarkson became despondent over her fading career and killed herself.

Most of Jackson's opening statement dealt with a long line of women stretching over 30 years who he said were threatened with death by a gun-wielding Spector.

He showed photos of five of them interspersed with quotes from their previous testimony, profane voicemail messages left for them by Spector and, in one case, a video excerpt from the testimony of a witness who has since died.

In that footage, Diane Ogden pointed a finger at her head and testified that Spector held a gun to her face. "He said he was going to blow my brains out," she testified.

It's been a year since the jury in Spector's first trial deadlocked 10-2, with the majority favoring conviction.

There were no witnesses to the shooting, and Spector didn't testify in that trial.

Spector invented the recording technique known as the "Wall of Sound" and produced such anthems as the Ronettes' "Be My Baby" and Ike and Tina Turner's "River Deep-Mountain High."

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