(AFP) – May 3, 2011
LOS ANGELES — A Californian appeals court on Monday upheld the conviction of legendary music producer Phil Spector, jailed two years ago for murdering an actress at his Los Angeles mansion in 2003.
A three-judge panel at California's 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected a claim that the trial jury should not have heard testimony from five women about gun-related incidents involving Spector.
"The evidence showed that, when fueled by alcohol and faced with a lack or loss of control over a woman who was alone with him and in whom he had a romantic or sexual interest, Spector underwent a sharp mood swing," they said.
In addition Spector, now 71, "exhibited extreme anger and threatened the woman with a gun when she refused to do his bidding," said an 81-page ruling by presiding judge Joan D. Klein and two other justices.
The judges found that the evidence was "admissible to prove that the cause of (Lana) Clarkson's death had neither been an accident nor a suicide."
The Los Angeles Superior Court sentenced Spector to 19 years to life in prison in May 2009 for the 2003 murder of Lana Clarkson, best known for her role in the 1985 cult film "The Barbarian Queen."
Clarkson, 40, was found slumped in a chair with a gunshot wound to the head in Spector's castle-like home on February 3, 2003, only hours after meeting the producer for the first time at the nightclub where she worked.
Spector, who created the famed "Wall of Sound" recording technique during the 1960s, is not eligible for parole until 2028, and if he is not freed then, then under California law his sentence will become a life term.
Spector is regarded as one of the most influential figures in pop music history. In the early 1960s, he scored hits including "Da Doo Ron Ron," "Be My Baby, Baby" and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin.'"
But during his two murder trials, prosecutors said Spector, who was famed for his work with The Beatles, Tina Turner, The Righteous Brothers, The Ronettes and The Ramones, had a more sinister side.
Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson painted a picture of the music icon as a gun-crazed eccentric with a "history of violence" toward women who tried to leave him.
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