YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Los Angeles

L.A. Grand Jury Indicts Spector in Actress' Slaying

September 28, 2004|Anna Gorman | Times Staff Writer

Rock music producer Phil Spector, accused of killing actress Lana Clarkson in his Alhambra mansion last year, has been indicted by the Los Angeles County Grand Jury on a murder charge.

The indictment, unsealed Monday, means that Spector will go straight to trial without a preliminary hearing. He pleaded not guilty in Los Angeles County Superior Court, and then criticized Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley for taking the case to the grand jury.

"This district attorney is pursuing a personal vendetta without evidence," Spector said outside the courtroom. "He secretly, as fascists would, went to a secret grand jury to seek and get an indictment."

Spector, 64, called for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to intervene and stop what he termed a miscarriage of justice and accused Cooley of using "reprehensible, unconscionable and despicable" tactics.

Defense attorney Bruce Cutler said he was frustrated that he would not have a chance to present the defense's case, including testimony by forensics experts, at a preliminary hearing, where a judge decides whether there is enough evidence for the case to go to trial.

Spector is also charged with personal use of a handgun. Cutler said Clarkson died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

"There was no crime," he said. "Our mission is to make certain that we win this case here in this building and in the court of public opinion."

Clarkson, a 40-year-old actress and nightclub hostess, was found dead at Spector's home in February 2003. Clarkson had appeared in such B-list movies as "Barbarian Queen" and "Amazon Women on the Moon."

Prosecutors charged Spector with murder in November. Since then, Spector has twice switched attorneys and proclaimed his innocence. If convicted, he could face a life sentence.

Prosecutors said they sought an indictment, returned Sept. 20, so the case would get to trial more quickly.

"It's been one year since he's been charged, and we haven't even had a preliminary hearing yet," district attorney's spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said outside court. "We're now on the road to trial. It's time."

Spector, who is free on $1 million bail, is scheduled to return to court Dec. 16. He is best known for producing 1960s hits and for his layered "wall of sound" recording technique, which takes a symphonic approach to pop music.


To read the indictment, go to

Los Angeles Times Articles