Producer Phil Spector Charged With Murder

Arraignment comes 10 months after shooting at his mansion.

Phil Spector was charged with the murder of Lana Clarkson on Thursday (November 20), more than 10 months after the actress was discovered shot to death in the famed record producer's mansion.

Spector has been free on $1 million bail since his arrest following the February 3 shooting (see "Producer Phil Spector Arrested In Connection With Slaying") but was ordered to be arraigned Thursday afternoon in Alhambra, California, Superior Court, according to a spokesperson for the district attorney's office there.

Alhambra Deputy District Attorney Kevin McCormick of the Major Crimes Division has charged Spector with one count of murder, alleging he used a handgun to kill Clarkson.

Spector and his friends have suggested the actress shot herself. "She kissed the gun," the 63-year-old producer told Esquire magazine earlier this year (see "Phil Spector Says Slain Actress 'Kissed The Gun' Before Killing Herself").

Robert Shapiro, Spector's lawyer, who famously represented O.J. Simpson in his murder trial, released a statement saying his client will prevail. "We have assembled a team of scientific experts which is among the most respected and prestigious in the world," Shapiro said. "Based on this team's findings of this horrible human event, any jury will conclude that Phil Spector is not guilty."

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Homicide Bureau spent several months investigating the case and turned the evidence over to McCormick on September 18 (see "Phil Spector Shot Actress, Detectives Conclude"). Details of the evidence have not been released.

On the night of the shooting, Spector met Clarkson at the West Hollywood House of Blues, where the 40-year-old B-movie star was a hostess (see "Phil Spector Met Shooting Victim At Club Where She Worked"). A chauffeur drove the couple to the producer's estate in the Alhambra suburb of Los Angeles and later called police around 5 a.m. after hearing shots fired in the house. Officers found Clarkson shot once in the face, lying in the foyer with a gun near her body.

Spector — a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member who originated the Wall of Sound technique and worked with the Beatles, the Righteous Brothers, the Ramones and others — was known for having a fascination with guns (see "Phil Spector: Mad Genius, By Kurt Loder"). He was recently quoted as saying he considers himself "relatively insane" (see "Phil Spector Recently Claimed To Be 'Relatively Insane' ").