Spector jury unable to reach verdict


The jury in the murder trial of Phil Spector said Tuesday it was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on the charges against the legendary rock producer, and the judge dismissed the jurors for the day.

The jury said it had taken four ballots, but was split 7-5 over the verdict. The jury did not tell the judge if the split favored a guilty or not guilty verdict.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Larry Fidler said he wanted to consider instructing the jury to try to reach a verdict on a reduced charge of manslaughter. He allowed the jury to go home while he discussed the matter with attorneys and considered his next step.

"I want you all to take a break," Fidler told jurors.

He told them to return to court Wednesday morning, where attorneys might reargue portions of the case. He also said he might give jurors additional instructions.

Fidler dismissed a request by the defense to immediately declare a mistrial.

The jury had previously been instructed that manslaughter, or accidental death, was not an option as a verdict against Spector.

Most jurors told Fidler they doubted a change to a manslaughter charge would help their deliberations. The jury has been considering its verdict for seven days at Los Angeles Superior Court after a five-month trial.

"Is there anything more that can be done?" Fidler asked the jury foreman. "I honestly don't," the foreman replied.

Spector, 67, faces 15 years to life in prison if convicted of shooting actress Lana Clarkson in the mouth with a gun at his Los Angeles area home in February 2003.

Spector showed no emotion during Tuesday's proceedings.

The producer, a legendary figure in rock music for his pioneering "Wall of Sound" recording technique and work with The Beatles, The Ronettes, Tina Turner and Cher, did not testify in his own defense.

The defense argued that Clarkson shot herself in the mouth because she was depressed abut her career and her finances.