Spector Jury Selection Begins

Jury selection began in Los Angeles March 19th in the murder trial of music producer Phil Spector.

Spector, 66, has been accused in the 2003 death of actress Lana Clarkson, who was found shot to death in his Southern California mansion. The two met while Clarkson was working as a hostess at the House of Blues on in West Hollywood.

The death was ruled a homicide by the L.A. county coroner’s office, but the coroner’s report also noted that Clarkson had gunshot residue on both of her hands and may have pulled the trigger.

Spector, who faces life in prison if convicted, called the death "an accidental suicide" in an e-mail to friends, and has pleaded not guilty. He has been free on $1 million bail since his arrest.

Prosecutors believe they have a strong case against Spector, pointing to his admissions to police the night of the shooting, his alcohol consumption after several years of sobriety and physical evidence. His defense may be further complicated by a pretrial ruling allowing testimony of his prior history, including incidents that involve Spector, a woman and a gun.

Following the second day of jury selection, lawyers were to take a break before returning April 9th for a pretrial hearing to read prospective jurors’ answers to an 18-page questionnaire and refine their jury selection strategy.

Jurors will be questioned individually on April 16th, and are expected to be seated by April 30th, when opening statements in the trial, which a judge has ruled may be televised, are scheduled to begin.