Famed "Wall of Sound" producer [url id="http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/spector_phil/artist.jhtml"]Phil Spector[/url]was sentenced to 19 years to life in prison on Friday (May 29) after being found guilty in April of second-degree murder in the shooting of actress Lana Clarkson.
Given his frail health and age, 69, the sentence was considered by many to be a life sentence for the once-prominent producer (Beatles, Ramones), whose sometimes-violent relationships with the women in his life have threatened to overshadow his pioneering musical accomplishments.
Spector's lawyer, Doron Weinberg, told The Associated Press on Friday that he plans to continue the appeals process. "He's doing fairly well," Weinberg said. "He's adjusting to the circumstances and settling down to wait out an appeal with high hopes. He feels he will win the appeal."
Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler had little leeway in sentencing, according to the AP, as a 15-years-to-life sentence is mandated by law, and the only discretion available to him was whether to add three, four or 10 years to the sentence for personal use of a firearm. Spector must now spend at least 19 years in jail before being eligible for parole at age 88. If not granted parole, he will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Though the jury deadlocked in the first trial in the case in 2007, using the same evidence, a jury convicted Spector in the retrial, which began last year. Spector did not testify at either trial.
Prosecutors contended that after meeting B-movie actress Clarkson, 40, at the House of Blues club in Los Angeles in 2003 — where she was working as a waitress — the producer took her home to his Alhambra, California "castle," where she was shot to death in the home's front foyer. Spector had claimed that Clarkson killed herself by putting the gun in her mouth, but his chauffeur said he witnessed Spector emerge from the home holding a gun and heard him say, "I think I killed somebody."
he testimonies that ultimately did Spector in were from five women who had relationships with the reclusive producer over the course of the past 30-plus years. They said he'd threatened them with guns when they tried to leave him in a manner very similar to what allegedly occurred the night of Clarkson's death. Weinberg said his appeal will hinge on his assertion that the judge should not have allowed the women to testify because they prejudiced the jury against Spector.
Spector has been in jail since his April 13 conviction. Clarkson's family has filed a wrongful-death civil suit against Spector that has not yet been heard. Before the sentencing, the Los Angeles Times reported that Clarkson's mother, Donna, told the judge that the murder had devastated her. "All our plans together are destroyed. Now I can only visit her in the cemetery," she said.