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Phil Spector and his wife Rachelle leave the Los Angeles Country Superior Court Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008. (Nick Ut)
Phil Spector and his wife Rachelle leave the Los Angeles Country Superior Court Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008. (Nick Ut)

Spector gets 19 years to life for murder Add to ...

Eccentric music producer Phil Spector was given a sentence of 19 years to life in prison Friday for the murder of a Hollywood actress in 2003.

Spector, 69, who revolutionized pop music in the 1960s with his layered "Wall of Sound" production technique, was convicted in April of second-degree murder by a Los Angeles jury after a second trial. The first trial ended in a deadlock in 2007.

Lana Clarkson, 40, a B-movie actress, died of a shot to the mouth, fired from Spector's gun in the foyer of his mock castle home outside Los Angeles on Feb. 3, 2003. The two had met hours earlier at a Hollywood nightclub.

The sentence means that Spector must spend at least 19 years in prison before being eligible for parole. If not paroled, he will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Spector, who worked with The Ronettes, The Beatles, Cher and Leonard Cohen at the height of his fame, denied murdering Clarkson but did not testify at either trial.

He has been held in custody since his April 13 conviction after being free on bail after his arrest in 2003.

Prosecutors said the shooting of Clarkson was part of a pattern of gunplay and violence that Spector displayed toward women over the past 20 years, saying he had a problem with rage and was "a bully".

Spector's lawyers said Clarkson was depressed about her failing career and had committed suicide.

She worked as a hostess at the House of Blues in Hollywood when she met the man who produced songs such as the Righteous Brothers' hit You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin '. Clarkson starred in such little-known movies as Barbarian Queen and Amazon Women on the Moon .

Clarkson's family has also filed a wrongful-death civil suit against Spector. The case has yet to be heard.

Spector had a troubled early life. His father committed suicide, his sister spent time in mental institutions and Spector suffered bouts of severe depression.

Shortly before Clarkson was shot, Spector told British journalist Mick Brown in a rare interview that he had a bipolar personality and had "devils that fight inside me."

In 2006, he quietly wed for the fourth time, marrying model/actress Rachelle Short, who is about 30 years his junior.

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