After a nearly eight-month investigation, sheriff's deputies have determined the bullet that killed actress Lana Clarkson was fired by famed record producer Phil Spector.
"Yesterday we presented the case to the district attorney's office and we believe a crime occurred," said Lt. Dan Rosenberg of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Homicide Bureau. Rosenberg said detectives concluded Clarkson's death was not an accident or suicide, and Homicide Bureau Capt. Frank Merriman told the Los Angeles Times on Friday, "Phil Spector shot her."
The next move in the storied case will come from prosecutors, who haven't decided whether they'll file criminal charges against Spector. Sandi Gibbons, spokesperson for the district attorney's office, said a formal announcement is expected next week. "We have a substantial amount of material to help us determine how to proceed," Gibbons said. She could not discuss what evidence law-enforcement officials had provided.
Spector and Clarkson reportedly met for the first time on February 3, the night of the shooting, at the House of Blues in Los Angeles, where the 40-year-old B-movie actress was working as a hostess (see "Phil Spector Met Shooting Victim At Club Where She Worked").
The pair returned to the 62-year-old producer's castlelike estate in the Alhambra neighborhood of Los Angeles and exited a chauffeur-driven car. The car's driver called police around 5 a.m. after he claimed he heard shots fired in the house. When police arrived, they found Clarkson lying in the foyer of Spector's mansion, shot once in the face. A gun was found near the body.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Spector, famous for his Wall of Sound production technique and a fascination with guns, was arrested several hours after police arrived and booked for investigation of murder (see "Producer Phil Spector Arrested In Connection With Slaying").
In an Esquire interview earlier this year, Spector suggested that Clarkson had shot herself in the head. "She kissed the gun," Spector told the magazine. "I have no idea why" (see "Phil Spector Says Slain Actress 'Kissed The Gun' Before Killing Herself").