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Spector jury says it's deadlocked

  • Story Highlights
  • Jurors are split 7-5 after four ballots, but don't indicate which way they're leaning
  • Judge denies a defense request for an immediate mistrial in the case
  • The jury began deliberating September 10
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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- The jury in the murder trial of legendary music producer Phil Spector has "reached an impasse" after more than a week of deliberations, the trial judge said Tuesday.


Phil Spector, 67, is charged with second-degree murder in the 2003 killing of an actress.

The nine-man, three-woman jury delivered a note to court officials early Tuesday afternoon, warning they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict in Spector's case.

The panel's foreman later told Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler that jurors were split 7-5 after four ballots, but did not indicate which way they were leaning.

Fidler quizzed jurors as to what might break the deadlock and denied a defense request for an immediate mistrial in the case.

But he said he would consider whether to repeat jury instructions, allow jurors to hear a read-back of testimony or let them consider a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter.

"At this time, I don't believe that anything else will change the positions of the jurors based on the facts that are in evidence," the foreman told the judge.

Court proceedings will resume Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. (12:30 p.m. ET).

The jury began deliberating September 10 after hearing testimony and arguments since April.

Spector, 67, is charged with second-degree murder in the 2003 killing of B-movie actress Lana Clarkson.

The onetime star of "Barbarian Queen" and the spoof "Amazon Women on the Moon" was found dead in Spector's Alhambra home -- dubbed "the castle" -- from a single gunshot wound through the roof of the mouth.

Spector's lawyers argue that Clarkson, then working as a VIP hostess at Hollywood's House of Blues, was depressed over a recent breakup, grabbed the .38-caliber pistol and took her own life.

A small amount of blood spattered on Spector's white jacket proves his innocence, they said.

But prosecution witnesses painted Spector as a gun-toting menace, with five women telling harrowing tales on the witness stand of the music producer threatening them with firearms.

Spector's driver testified he heard a loud noise and saw the producer leave the castle holding a revolver, saying, "I think I killed somebody."

The defense attacked the driver's command of the English language, asserting the Brazilian constantly mixes up pronouns and meant to say something else.

But under intense cross-examination, he never strayed from the gist of his original call to a 911 emergency operator.

Spector has won two Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989, but he stayed out of the public eye for two decades before his 2003 arrest.

In the 1960s, he became famous as the man behind the "Wall of Sound" -- the instrumentally dense swirl of melody and percussion underlying tunes like The Ronettes' "Be My Baby," the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" and Ike and Tina Turner's "River Deep, Mountain High."

He later produced the Beatles' "Let it Be" album, John Lennon's "Imagine" and the Ramones' "End of the Century." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

All About Lana ClarksonPhil Spector

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