Spector Judge Not Giving Up On Verdict

Judge Larry Paul Fidler presides over a hearing in music producer Phil Spector's murder trial at the Los Angeles Superior Court in Los Angeles, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2007. Spector is on trial for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson in February 2003. (AP Photo/Gabriel Bouys, Pool)
AP Photo/Pool
The judge in Phil Spector's murder trial has given the deadlocked jury new instructions with several scenarios as to how the legendary record producer might have killed actress Lana Clarkson, including that Spector forced her to put a gun in her own mouth and it went off.

Spector's attorneys had vehemently objected outside the jury's presence that Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler was turning the defense against itself at the last minute because they had presented scientific evidence that Clarkson had probably pulled the trigger herself, either by accident or in a suicide.

The prosecution supported the judge's move on grounds there was "a plethora of evidence" that would support such a scenario, and the judge commented, "It's a reasonable inference that can be drawn."

The jury, which got the case Sept. 10, was sent back into deliberations after also receiving instructions including suggestions such as having new discussion leaders or reverse role-playing in which jurors argue opposing jurors' views. The panel talked for less than an hour before recessing for the night.

2"It's hard to imagine what new instructions is going to do for these jurors," says CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen. "The judge hopes that it makes the jury resolute toward reaching some unanimous decision but it could just as easily backfire and make jurors resentful about being sent back into the room when they have made it clear they can't agree on a verdict."

At minimum, Cohen adds, "if the jury remains hung up, the judge won't ever feel like he didn't go the extra mile to try to get a verdict. Even if Spector is convicted, this whole episode about the start and stop and start again of deliberations surely will come up on appeal."

Spector, 67, is charged with killing Clarkson in the foyer of his Alhambra, Calif., mansion on Feb. 3, 2003, a few hours after she met him at her job as a nightclub hostess and went home with him. During the trial, prosecutors called five women who claimed that Spector threatened them with guns in incidents long ago.

The defense presented expert witnesses who maintained that Clarkson, 40, was depressed and shot herself through the mouth, either on purpose or by accident.