Phil Spector trial hits controversial twist

Judge offers jury new possibilities in Clarkson's death

Phil Spector
The jury have resumed their deliberations in the trial of music producer Phil Spector, after receiving new instructions from the judge.

The jurors reached an impasse in the case earlier this week and some requested further instructions, leading Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler to suggest new theories of how Spector might have committed the crime.

The producer is accused of murdering actress Lana Clarkson at his Alhambra, California mansion in February 2003. She died of a gunshot wound through the mouth.

The defense is claiming she shot herself, while the judge suggested that Spector could have forced Lana Clarkson to put the gun in her mouth where it then went off.

The judge had not allowed for hypothetical scenarios such as this during the trial, but he justified his recent theories by saying: "It's a reasonable inference that can be drawn."

The Associated Press quotes Stan Goldman, a professor at Loyola Law School who was in the courtroom yesterday (September 10), as saying "an acquittal would be an astonishing thing at this point".

Fidler told the jury that they must "prove that the defendant committed an act with a firearm that caused the death of Lana Clarkson, such as placing a gun in her mouth or forcing her to place the gun in her mouth at which time it discharged, pointing the gun at or against her head at which time it entered her mouth and discharged, pointing the gun at her to prevent her from leaving the house, causing a struggle which resulted in the gun entering her mouth and discharging."

He did add that he was not suggesting that any of these scenarios actually happened, but just that it is possible that they did.

--By our New York staff.
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