The California Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from American rock producer Phil Spector, who was sentenced to 19 years in prison in 2009 after being convicted of murder.
The ruling upheld an earlier appeals court decision in May, as the state’s highest court rejected the appeal request from defense attorney Dennis P. Riordan.
A legendary producer, Spector was sentenced in 2009 to 19 years in prison for the 2003 murder of a former actress at his east Los Angeles mansion. A jury found Spector guilty of shooting and killing Lana Clarkson hours after they met at a nightclub where she worked as a server.
In May, a three-judge panel at California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected a defense claim that the trial jury should not have heard testimony from five women about gun-related incidents involving Spector.
“The evidence showed that, when fueled by alcohol and faced with a lack or loss of control over a woman who was alone with him and in whom he had a romantic or sexual interest, Spector underwent a sharp mood swing,” the panel said in May.
In addition Spector “exhibited extreme anger and threatened the woman with a gun when she refused to do his bidding,” said an 81-page ruling by presiding judge Joan D. Klein and two other justices.
The judges found that the evidence was “admissible to prove that the cause of (Lana) Clarkson’s death had neither been an accident nor a suicide.”
The 71-year-old producer has always claimed his innocence and his defense team argued that the 40-year-old Clark, depressed about the failure of her artistic career, committed suicide at Spector’s home in east Los Angeles.
Spector is regarded as one of the most influential figures in pop music history. In the early 1960s, he scored hits including “Da Doo Ron Ron,” “Be My Baby, Baby” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin.'”
But during his two murder trials, prosecutors said Spector, who was famed for his work with The Beatles, Tina Turner, The Righteous Brothers, The Ronettes and The Ramones, had a more sinister side.
Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson painted a picture of the music icon as a gun-crazed eccentric with a “history of violence” toward women who tried to leave him.
Spector, who created the famed “Wall of Sound” recording technique during the 1960s, is not eligible for parole until 2028, and if he is not freed then, then under California law his sentence will become a life term.