Phil Spector

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He didn't get the maximum sentence, but Phil Spector may be spending the rest of his life behind bars regardless.

The 69-year-old Grammy-winning, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-sanctioned music producer was sentenced to 19 years to life in prison today for the February 2003 shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson.

It's the same amount of time prosecutors were seeking for the man whose trademark Wall of Sound backed bands from the Ronettes to the Righteous Brothers to the Beatles.


In addition to the mandatory 15-year sentence carried by his second-degree murder conviction, he was also looking at an additional 10 years for the "enhanced" charge of using his own gun to kill the B-movie queen. However, last week Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson recommended a consecutive four-year term, bringing Spector's mandatory minimum to 19 years behind bars.

And if you do the math, Spector can count on being behind bars until at least 2028.

Spector's defense had sought a maximum of 18 years.

In addition to the prison time, Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler ordered Spector to pay $16,811 in funeral expenses and $9,740 to a victim restitution fund.

Prior to Spector's sentencing, Clarkson's mother made a brief statement.

"I'm very proud of Lana, proud to be her mother," Donna Clarkson said. "No one should suffer the loss of a child."

Spector was found guilty April 13 of second-degree murder of the Barbarian Queen star and has been held in police custody since that time. Fidler declined to allow the producer to stay free on bail pending his appeal due to his "pattern of violence" with firearms.

The 40-year-old Clarkson was found slumped dead in the foyer of Spector's Southern California mansion with a gunshot wound in her mouth. Spector had long claimed she committed suicide, with his lawyer Doron Weinberg maintaining in court papers filed as recently as Wednesday that "he did not kill Lana Clarkson, and he is not responsible for her death."

The guilty verdict was the first conviction but second trial for Spector. The first jury to hear his case deadlocked 10-2 in favor of convicting him back in 2007.

It's unclear at which facility Spector will serve his time in, though his attorney has already requested an immediate transfer from county jail to state prison.

(Originally published on May 29, 2009 at 11:39 a.m. PT)


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