Jury deliberates in Phil Spector murder trial, asks for VCR to review evidence

Monday, September 24th 2007, 6:01 pm
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Phil Spector's jury deliberated Monday with the help of a VCR to review videotape evidence in the record producer's trial on a charge of murdering actress Lana Clarkson.

There was no indication why the jury asked to have the VCR brought into deliberations, but the panel had previously been shown video of sheriff's investigators interviewing Spector's chauffeur.

Driver Adriano De Souza was a key witness who testified that Spector came out of his mansion with a gun in his hand and stated ``I think I killed somebody'' as Clarkson's body sat slumped in a foyer chair behind him.

There was also videotape of a fountain in the courtyard where the chauffeur was waiting at the time. The defense contended the fountain and other noises made it difficult for the Brazilian-born driver to understand Spector.

Spector, 67, is charged with second-degree murder. Clarkson, 40, died on Feb. 3, 2003, from a gunshot fired in her mouth. The defense contends the shot was self-inflicted, either an accident or a suicide.

The case went to the jury Sept. 10 and the jury foreman told the judge on Sept. 18 that the panel was deadlocked 7-5. After two days of debate among attorneys, the judge revised the jury instructions and the panel resumed talks late on Sept. 20. The jurors also deliberated Friday before taking the weekend off.

When the jury returned Monday, the defense filed a motion asking Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler to give the panel more guidance to clarify the new instructions he issued last week to help break a 7-5 deadlock.

Superior Court spokesman Alan Parachini said the judge informally indicated to the lawyers that he would not grant the motion. The judge, however, did not plan a hearing to formally put his decision on the record.

Last week the judge withdrew a so-called pinpoint instruction that several jurors indicated was giving them trouble.

That instruction said that in order to convict Spector the jury had to find that ``the defendant must have committed an act that caused the death of Lana Clarkson,'' and it specified the act was pointing a gun at her, which resulted in the gun entering her mouth while in Spector's hand.

The judge decided that the instruction misstated the law by unduly limiting possibilities that the jury could consider. He gave a new instruction that included examples of inferences the jury could draw from the evidence, including the possibility that Spector forced Clarkson to place the gun in her own mouth and it went off.