Phil Spector jury split 7-5, judge gives them a break

The jury in the Phil Spector murder trial have failed to return a verdict.

The jury foreman announced yesterday (18.09.07) that the panel of 12 had reached a deadlock after almost seven days of deliberating whether Spector is guilty of shooting actress Lana Clarkson dead in 2003.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler was told the jury was hung on a 7-5 vote, but would not indicate which way the majority was leaning in their decision on the second-degree murder charge.

Fidler is now considering allowing the jurors to deliberate on the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter.

Spector’s defence team – who claim Clarkson, 40, shot herself in the mouth at the music producer’s Los Angeles mansion – have requested a mistrial.

The judge rejected the mistrial plea after three jurors indicated further instruction would help them reach a different decision.

However, the foreman, speaking on behalf of the whole jury, said: “I believe it comes down to individual jurors. At this time we don’t believe anything will change the positions of the jurors.”

Fidler then sent the jury home, saying: “I want you to take a break. Just set the case aside for the rest of the day.”

The jury have been ordered to return to court today (19.09.07) to receive further instruction from the judge.

Fidler also plans to hear arguments from the prosecution and defence on whether to give the jury the option of the involuntary manslaughter charge.

If the lesser count is agreed, the attorneys will have a chance to make their case on Thursday (20.09.07).

Spector, 67, faces at least 15 years in prison if found guilty of second-degree murder. If he is found guilty of involuntary manslaughter the sentence is expected to be between three to seven years.