Crime & Justice

Judge sentences Phil Spector to 19 years to life in state prison

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A judge sentenced Phil Spector today to 19 years to life in state prison. KPCC's Brian Watt was at the courthouse in downtown Los Angeles.

Brian Watt: Phil Spector had already been in jail since last month, when a jury convicted him of second degree murder in the death of Lana Clarkson. Early in the sentencing hearing, her mother Donna Clarkson spoke about the child she lost.

Donna Clarkson: She remembered people's names, birthdays, and things that were special to them. Lana made people feel important.

Watt: Forty-year-old Lana Clarkson didn't know how important Phil Spector was when she met the legendary music producer six years ago at the Sunset Strip House of Blues. Hours later, she was dead at Spector's Alhambra mansion.

Spector has maintained she'd killed herself. In the first trial two years ago, the jury deadlocked. This time around, lead prosecutor Alan Jackson said, the jury got it right.

Alan Jackson: The court, in this case, looked very, very systematically over and over and over at every legal issue. The defense Mr. Spector had was among the best that he could have ever gotten.

Watt: Spector wore a pinstriped suit and red tie to the sentencing. He appeared on edge in some moments, stone-faced and sullen in others. He looked straight ahead and hardly blinked as Judge Larry Paul Fidler sentenced him to 15 years in prison and tacked on four years for personal use of a gun. Spector's attorney, Doron Weinberg, said the legal team is pursuing an appeal.

Doron Weinberg: We do tell you that Mr. Spector did not kill Lana Clarkson and we hope that somehow, by the time we are done, we will have been able to prove that.

Watt: Weinberg asked that authorities move Spector as quickly as possible to the prison facility where he'll serve his time, and to make sure the 69-year-old's medical records would go with him. The court also ordered Spector to pay the Clarkson family almost $17,000 in funeral expenses and close to $9,000 to a state victims' restitution fund.