Phil Spector has placed an all-or-nothing bet on the outcome of his murder trial as lawyers today completed the last procedural steps before closing arguments begin next week.
The defense and prosecution said that the jury should only consider a charge of second-degree murder rather than a lesser charge such as manslaughter. Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler agreed, saying he couldn’t see any reconstruction of what happened in Spector’s Alhambra mansion that would allow a lesser charge.
The decision means that the jury can either convict or acquit the famed record producer on the top charge. Spector, 67, is charged with shooting Lana Clarkson, 40, in the mouth during the early hours of Feb. 3, 2003.
The prosecution has argued that Spector shot the actress after meeting her hours earlier at the House of Blues in West Hollywood where she was working as a hostess in the VIP area.
The defense has maintained that Clarkson was feeling despondent about life and accidentally shot herself.
With the jury gone for the Labor Day holiday and Spector not present in the Los Angeles courtroom, prosecution and defense lawyers finished their presentations today on what they wanted Fidler to tell the nine-man, three-woman jury before they begin their deliberations.
Fidler indicated that he will include instructions to deal with two sticking points that came in the lengthy trial that began with opening statements at the end of April.
He said he will instruct the jury on how to evaluate the testimony by defense expert Dr. Michael Baden who abruptly raised a new theory, that Clarkson did not die instantly when the bullet entered her mouth and damaged her spine. The delay could explain some of the blood that stained Spector’s white jacket.