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Spector Confronted With Doubting Jury Hopefuls
Producer Phil Spector was confronted yesterday (April 17) with prospective jurors who declared they had already decided he was guilty of the murder of actress Lana Clarkson.Producer Phil Spector was confronted yesterday (April 17) with prospective jurors who declared they had already decided he was guilty of the murder of actress Lana Clarkson.
"Honestly, I think he did it," a young aspiring actress said during jury selection. "I think I'm a fair person but it would be very difficult to forget what I read." She said she believed celebrities often have things handed to them and as a result they "just act inappropriately."
"I moved out here to be an actress and I have strong morals," she said. "But it's easy to see how you start to think the world is just about you."
Clarkson was shot through the mouth in the foyer of Spector's suburban Alhambra, Calif., home on Feb. 3, 2003, after going home with him from her job as a hostess at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip. Spector has pleaded not guilty to murder.
Prospects from a panel of about 100 that filled out questionnaires last month are being questioned to form the actual jury. Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler said lawyers will begin today to exercise challenges to remove prospects.
The next prospect questioned, also a woman, said she also concluded that Spector was guilty. But she said she had served on juries before and thought she could separate her opinions from evaluation of the evidence.
She had written on her questionnaire: "In my opinion Phillip is at fault for her death." Asked by defense attorney Roger Rosen to elaborate, she said, "If she hadn't gone there she would be alive."
An immigrant woman who said her English was limited stated that she knew little about the case but felt "you have to know who's coming to your home for your own safety ... I'm thinking if somebody's coming to your home you have to be responsible for your guest."
Rosen noted that several prospects wrote on their questionnaires that they would like to hear Spector testify and would not be convinced of his innocence unless he did. But after instructions by the judge and lawyers that a defendant is not under any obligation to testify, the prospects said they would not be biased against him.
Questioning returned repeatedly to a network TV producer in the tentative panel. He was asked whether an expert's TV credentials would impress him. "I think TV is kind of irrelevant," he said. "I would give the testimony equal weight whether they are on TV or not."
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