Hung Jury Triggers Mistrial in Phil Spector Murder Case

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The judge declared a mistrial in the murder trial of music producer Phil Spector because of a jury deadlock on Wednesday.

The mistrial came on a twelfth day of deliberations on whether Phil Spector murdered actress Lana Clarkson at his Alhambra mansion in 2003.

Following Wednesday's ruling, Spector arrived at his mansion just before 2:30 in the afternoon. After stepping out of the vehicle, he hugged his bodyguard before going inside.

The judge had a choice Wednesday afternoon, he could either send the jurors back to deliberate some more or he could accept their conclusion that they were at a hopeless impasse. His final decision was to declare a mistrial.

The 67-year-old music mogul exited the Downtown L.A. courthouse like a rock star. Bodyguards and deputies scuffled with camera crews. In the fracas, there was a rare flash on the face of Phil Spector, a smile.

For now Spector is not going to jail, though 12 days of jury deliberations fell short of what he wanted. For the second time, the jury came back to tell Judge Larry Paul Fidler they were hopelessly split.

"Is it your belief that there's anything that I can do further that has not yet been done to assist the jurors in any way?" Judge Fidler asked the jury.

The response was "no."

The jury was split 10-2 in favor of convicting Spector. On Wednesday Spector and his defense team softened the grim expressions they've held through much of the five-month trial. Spector was accused of second-degree murder in the death of Lana Clarkson.

Lana Clarkson's mother and her half-sister were summoned to the courtroom hoping for a resolution. They remained poker-faced as the judge polled the jury to determine whether there was any chance a mind could be changed.

Jurors said no.

The deadlock happened a week after the judge made a controversial move when the jurors were at an impasse, at that time, citing a special instruction. The judge removed the instruction, a decision which to many analysts paved the way for a conviction. The split at that time was 7 to 5.

"On behalf of all the judges of the court, please accept my thanks for your time and effort," the judge said to jurors.

Attorneys will be back on October 3rd to discuss how they will proceed next. The district attorney has decided to re-file the case, meaning Phil Spector will stand trial again.

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