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Guilty Verdict For Farrah's Ex

Producer-director James Orr has been convicted of beating ex-girlfriend Farrah Fawcett during a brawl in which he slammed her head to the ground and choked her.

A jury on Tuesday found Orr guilty on one count of misdemeanor battery for the Jan. 28 fight. He was acquitted of a second battery count involving an incident on Aug. 28, 1997.

Orr, who appeared stunned as the verdict was read, faces up to a year in jail and a $6,000 fine when sentenced Oct. 6 by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert T. Altman.

Fawcett was not in the courtroom Tuesday.

"She truly hopes that her sense of conviction sends a positive message to all battered women," spokesman Anthony Pellicano said after talking to the actress at her Los Angeles-area home.

Jurors, who began deliberating Monday afternoon, refused to talk to reporters after the verdict was read.

"We're happy with the not-guilty verdict, and we're not happy with the guilty verdict," defense attorney Don Wager said, adding he would appeal.

Deputy City Attorney Lara Bloomquist said she hoped the verdict would send a message. The prosecutor said Fawcett was beaten "head to toe" during the January fight with Orr, a Hollywood producer and director who claimed during trial that he was the victim of an obsessively jealous woman bent on violence.

Orr would have jurors believe Fawcett was "the high-strung, temper-tantrum type and [Orr] is the submissive lover Â… that she's irrational, he's a saint," Bloomquist said in closing arguments Monday.

But the defendant seriously bruised the 51-year-old actress, she said.

Orr was charged with pushing her down, slamming her head to the driveway, and trying to choke her during a fight that followed an argument at a restaurant. Fawcett admitted smashing his windows with a baseball bat and acknowledged the two squared off with bar stools during the fight.

The defense claimed Orr, 44, was preventing further damage to his property, but the prosecution claimed he struck in retaliation.

Orr, a writer, director, and producer whose credits include Three Men and a Baby, testified that the couple began arguing after the actress found in the trash two books mailed by Orr's ex-girlfriend.

The couple went to a restaurant, where the argument continued. They fought on the way home and it continued when they returned to Orr's house.

He said Fawcett fell backward and hit her head on the driveway. He testified that he tried to restrain her but that she fought him. Orr denied banging Fawcett's head on the asphalt or putting his fingers on her throat.

Written by Cynthia L. Webb

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