It's coming to the part of the Phil Spector murder trial where the jury will have to stop listening to stories about how Phil Spector hates all women and decide if Phil Spector murdered Lana Clarkson or not – and nothing else.
Phil Spector's defence team has persuaded the court to kill the possibility that Phil Spector could be convicted of a lesser crime, like voluntary or involuntary manslaughter. That means the jury will only be able to consider Phil Spector's guilt of second-degree murder after the trial's closing statements next week. So, is Phil Spector guilty of murder or not? This is all turning out to be a bit like Deal Or No Deal, isn't it? Only a version of Deal Or No Deal where the result is decided by listening to several months of scientific evidence about an old man with lesbian hair instead of the random opening of some boxes as presided over by a beardy bloke who pulls inappropriate spaz-faces a lot and hears voices in his head.
As the Phil Spector murder trial draws to its inevitable close, the jury will be asking itself a lot of questions about what they've witnessed over the last few months. How relevant was it that several women testified about Phil Spector holding guns to their heads, or that Phil Spector once yelled that all women were "fucking cunts" who deserved to be shot? And what about blood spatter? Would Phil Spector be covered in Lana Clarkson's blood if she stood two feet away from him and shot herself in the mouth, or six feet? And, perhaps most importantly, when the jury sat in Phil Spector's chair and pretended to be dead, did they feel murdered or suicided?
And that's just the tip of the iceberg – the Phil Spector murder trial jurors' heads are are full of Lana Clarkson's ghosts and DNA-splattered boobies and shoes and Michael Bay and Elmer Fudd, too – so if anything the jury members should be grateful that Phil Spector's defence wants to limit their choices to second-degree murder and nothing else. And, as the Los Angeles Times reports, that's what has happened:
Jurors can consider only one charge — second-degree murder — when they decide whether legendary music producer Phil Spector shot and killed an actress he took home to his mansion more than four years ago. Finalizing the instructions that will be presented to the jury, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler concluded Wednesday that the evidence presented at trial did not allow the 12 men and women deciding Spector's fate to consider a lesser charge of voluntary or involuntary manslaughter.
It's a strange choice, we'll admit – given Phil Spector's extensive history of holding guns to people's heads without ever actually killing any of them, voluntary or involuntary manslaughter sort of sounds about right – but it's thought that limiting the jury to choosing between guilty of second-degree murder or not guilty of second-degree murder may push the jury's decision slightly towards the direction of not guilty, sparing Phil Spector anything between 15 years in jail to a life sentence; even though, at 67, 15 years is mostly a life sentence anyway.
So let's call this decision a smart move on the part of Phil Spector's lawyers. Once the jury has forgotten about all the forensic proof, the near impossibility of Lana Clarkson – an attractive woman – shooting herself in the mouth sitting down with her handbag on hours after buying several pairs of shoes and Phil Spector's murder confession, they'll be sure to find Phil Spector innocent of all charges.