Skip to main content

Spector murder trial: Jury familiar with guns, drugs, celebrities

Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

Editor's Note: As part of's new Crime section, we are archiving some of the most interesting content from This story was first published in 2007.

(Court TV) -- A panel of nine men and three women is hearing evidence against Phil Spector in the 2003 death of actress Lana Clarkson. They include a journalist once assigned to the case, the estranged wife of a convicted murderer, a civil engineer working on his PhD and a Broadway actor-turned-film executive. The average age of the panel is 48, about two decades younger than the defendant.

In a case that may turn on the handling of a handgun, five of the jurors reported in extensive questionnaires that they had fired a weapon. Four said they owned a gun, including three who own two weapons. The use of drugs and alcohol is also central in the trial. Four jurors said that either they or someone in their family used Vicodin, the painkiller found in Clarkson's system. Three jurors acknowledged drunk-driving arrests in their past, with three others citing relatives arrested for DUI.

All acknowledged following to some degree high-profile celebrity trials in California, specifically those of Robert Blake, Michael Jackson and, of course, O.J. Simpson.

Here are more detailed profiles of the panelists, based on their questionnaires:

Juror No. 1
A Los Angeles native, Juror No. 1 works for the L.A. Superior Court as a court service assistant in the probation violation system. The 37-year-old lives with a domestic partner, is the co-owner of an auto detailing business, and is raising two children, one in elementary school and one in high school. Her brother, whom she described as a gang member, spent time behind bars. Her cousin was killed in a drive-by shooting. Her former husband was arrested for driving under the influence. Her father was an alcoholic. She thinks celebrities tend to break the rules and the police are more lenient with them than others. Asked what she had heard about case, she wrote, "Just small reports about him telling the limo driver he thought he killed someone." She said she would expect a defendant to testify in his own defense "because this is his freedom at stake," but if he didn't, "I would think that maybe his lawyer did not feel it would be a good idea to do so."

Juror No. 2
A senior producer for Dateline NBC, Juror No. 2 was assigned to cover the Spector trial as a journalist before being seated on the panel. The 41-year-old man acknowledged in his questionnaire that he had read, heard and watched just about everything available about the shooting, from an 80-page civil deposition to the "voluminous" court file to reports from a dozen media outlets. Told to detail what he had heard about the case, he wrote, "Almost too much to specify." He noted that he is well-versed in information ruled inadmissible at Spector's trial. "It is hard to 'unring the bell.' Hard, but not impossible, I think," he wrote. He penned a special note on the front page of the questionnaire warning the judge and attorneys that it will be impossible for him to remain anonymous because NBC employees who report to him will be in the courtroom covering the trial.

The married father of two preschoolers said his focus on high-profile crime stories (he is Dateline's liaison with CourtTV) has brought him into contact with some experts slated to take the stand, including pathologist Michael Baden and forensic scientist Henry Lee. He said he followed the O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson cases for his job and said celebrity defendants get different treatment in the justice system. "They can have access, sometimes, to legal talent and can conduct investigations in their defense," he wrote. His opinion about the Spector case? Strictly professional: "I've probably said it's a fascinating case and recommended coverage of it."

Juror No. 3
Juror No. 3 works as a research specialist at a bank, locating missing deposits and filing fraud claims. The 45-year-old said she never heard of Spector before the shooting. "I've not been too interested following the news probably for that reason," she said. Of three other high-profile cases -- Simpson, Blake and Jackson -- she said, "You really couldn't get away from them. They were all over the radio and TV." She called them a "media circus" that wasted time. About celebrity defendants, she wrote, "I do think that in a lot of cases the more money you have for a defense the better defense you may have. Not always of course, but it does seem this way."

Her husband, an iron worker, died of what she called "an accidental overdose." She now lives with her 22-year-old son and her parents. She has some personal experience with crime. Her car was stolen. Her neighbor was shot recently. Her son was arrested for DUI. She has served on three juries and described the experience as "interesting mostly, stressful deliberating." She said Spector did not have to testify, but "I guess it would be really interesting if he did."

"I do think that in a lot of cases the more money you have for a defense the better defense you may have," she said, "Not always of course, but it does seem this way."

Juror No. 4
A mechanic for Federal Express, Juror No. 4 is a 47-year-old husband and father of two teenage boys. His niece is married to an LAPD officer and his nephew was shot at while walking home five years ago. He was involved in a civil suit after a work-related accident. "I think the criminal justice system is fair to everybody," he wrote. Asked what he knew about the Spector case, he wrote, "I remember reading in the newspaper that Mr. Spector picked up Ms. Clarkson at a party and took her to his house and murdered her." He expects defendants to testify. "I think that if a defendant doesn't testify in his own defense he has something to hide," he wrote.

Juror No. 5
Juror No. 5, a 54-year-old mother of two grown children who works as an assistant to a deputy mayor, said she knows little more about the case than "a woman was found dead in Spector's home." She did, however, follow the Simpson case closely. "Because he was an All-American, pro football player accused of murdering his wife. Did he? I wanted to know," she wrote. Asked for her impression of that case, she wrote, "Justice system worked."

She has been married for 15 years, but has been separated from her husband for 14 1/2 of those years. Her husband, who had served time for murder before they met, is currently incarcerated. She said she left him shortly after they wed because he became a crack addict. "I really should get a divorce," she wrote. She said she had not seen him for 12 years. Her daughter worked for the 911 system for a year. Her son is in the Air Force and has a gun. She said she had fired a weapon in the past, but does not own a gun. She has served on two juries and called the experiences an "eye opener."

Juror No. 6
Juror No. 6 is a film industry executive who specializes in new media marketing. The 52-year-old is married to a woman who also works in the entertainment industry. He once worked as an actor on television and Broadway. He owns two handguns, which he described as "collector pieces." Asked about his experience with firearms, he wrote, "My wife and I attended classes last year in firearms training for home security at a range in Burbank. We ended up not buying a gun for home defense." He said one of his brothers has struggled with "drug and alcohol issues" and it has affected his family. He has two female friends that were raped. He said he generally expects the accused to testify. "I would assume that a defendant would want to plead their case to a jury," he wrote. Asked if he agreed or disagreed with the premise "it is better for society to let some guilty people go free than to risk convicting an innocent person," he drew a question mark.

Juror No. 7
An environmental health specialist with the county's public health department, Juror No. 7 is a 56-year-old married father of two school-age children. His wife is a cosmetologist. He owns two handguns and says the purpose of owning them is to "learn about firearm safety and to experience the use of them." He has carried a gun for protection in the past. He was the victim of an attempted robbery at gunpoint on a bike trail, and his residence was once burglarized. His cousin is a sheriff's deputy. He said he would tend to believe police more than other witnesses because "it is their duty to protect and serve."

He said he thinks celebrities are treated differently by the police than others. He has followed high-profile celebrity trials and said of them, "All parties had their job to do. I'm sure they all did their best. Sometimes the truth is hard to surface." He said press coverage of cases was superficial "because the media cannot relay everything at once [so] short blips are reported to create interest."

Juror No. 8
Juror No. 8 works as a child support office for Los Angeles County. Single and never married, the juror, 45, lives with his 83-year-old mother. He has a master's degree in film and has trained as an ESL teacher, a notary, a paralegal and a realtor. He has a sister who is a criminal defense attorney, another who works as a probation officer and a brother who is a lawyer for the city. He was arrested for DUI. He said he knows of Spector "from my college days when people like myself played albums." He claims not to follow high-profile trials because "there are more interesting things to see and do to focus on just one individual." Still, he knew enough about the Anna Nicole Smith case to make an oblique reference to flamboyant Florida judge Larry Seidlin as an example of how the media tends to affect legal outcomes. He said sometimes it is in the best interest of a defendant not to take the stand in his own defense "because statements can be misconstrued and reinterpreted."

Juror No. 9
A facilities manager at a law firm, Juror No. 9 is a 54-year-old man. He has lived with his partner, an event planner, for nine years. He said he followed the Jackson, Blake and Simpson cases. "All over the news  I couldn't get away from it," he wrote. He added, "I think they got a fair trial." He was arrested for a DUI in the 1980s, but he has been sober for 24 years. He has used a firearm, but does not currently own one. He served as a juror seven years ago and said the experience was "not as bad as I had thought." He said he heard very little about the Spector case. "She died or was found dead," he wrote in response to a question about what he knew of the shooting.

Juror No. 10
A civil engineer for the county department of public works, Juror No. 10 is the only panelist to have seen Spector in the flesh before the trial began. The 32-year-old man lives near Spector in Alhambra and has spotted him shopping at Target on one or two occasions. He said he paid special attention to the shooting "since I live near the Castle." He said he did not know enough to have an opinion about Spector's guilt, but did voice one about Spector's sartorial choices, writing that the producer "dresses eccentrically." Married with three young sons, the juror keeps a shotgun in his house for "hunting, target practice, [and] home protection." He wrote, "I enjoy firearms and shooting. However, I respect other people's rights to not own or even oppose the ownership based on other personal experience."

He has two friends who were shot accidentally, one while hunting and the other at a shooting range. His uncle, a police officer in Idaho, was shot while apprehending a bank robber. A friend took his own life with a gun. The juror said there was some question whether the death was intentional suicide or an accident. He said he had relatives who struggled with addiction, including a cousin who was homeless. He also wrote, "I have a distant cousin who was arrested and convicted of being a hired hitman." Of the Jackson, Blake and Simpson trials, the juror wrote, "The impression these cases left is that everyone has problems and that fame and fortune don't shield anyone."

Juror No. 11
A 60-year-old shop mechanic, Juror No. 11 lives with his girlfriend. He was once arrested for DUI. He previously served on a jury. He said he feels strongly that celebrities feel they are entitled to act however they please. "They have the money to be treated different. Better lawyers," he wrote. He said he followed the Simpson case and left with the impression that "if you have money  better lawyers, better chance of winning the case." Of Spector's possible testimony, he wrote, "It's his call."

Juror No. 12
Juror No. 12 is an electrician at NBC Studios and a native of Los Angeles. Married with two grown children, the 49-year-old owns a rifle and a shotgun and uses them for target practice. His nephew just joined the L.A. County Sheriff's Department. His stepfather, an alcoholic, was arrested for DUI. His mother was the victim of domestic violence. He has served on three previous juries and called them "a positive experience."

"Everyone needs their day in court," he wrote.

Of defense attorneys in high-profile cases, he wrote, "Too much media coverage." But of prosecutors in the same cases, he wrote, "A lot of work." He stated he followed O.J. Simpson and Robert Blake "so I could have small talk if asked about the case." Asked what impression he took away from the high-profile celebrity trials, he said, "The celebrity life will never be the same." He wrote that the media coverage of the Spector trial would have no effect on him because he is "not interested in my '15 minutes.'" E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print