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Spector jury set for opening statements

October 28, 2008|Harriet Ryan | Ryan is a Times staff writer

The jury that is set to begin hearing evidence against Phil Spector this week includes panelists with knowledge of guns and suicide, two issues at the heart of the music icon's murder retrial.

According to jury questionnaires made public Monday, six panelists have fired weapons at a gun range or during military service and four keep weapons in their residences.

Spector, 68, is accused in the 2003 fatal shooting of actress Lana Clarkson at his Alhambra mansion. Opening statements are set for Wednesday.

Two jurors indicated negative opinions of gun ownership. One man wrote that the gun owners he knew "express violent behavior." Another juror disclosed membership in a gun control group, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

"I do not like guns and I do not understand the need for a private individual to possess" them, she wrote.

Prosecutors contend Spector shot the 40-year-old actress in the mouth when she rebuffed his romantic advances. His defense maintains Clarkson was depressed over her flagging career and shot herself.

Half the panel said someone close to them suffered from depression, and seven said someone close to them had committed or attempted suicide. One juror, a social worker, said she had worked on a psychiatric ward with patients who had tried to kill themselves.

Only one of the 12 wrote that he considered himself a fan of the legendary music producer.

Spector's trial last year ended in a hung jury.

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harriet.ryan@latimes.com

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