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Shooting death in Spector mansion ruled homicide

Record producer had said actress may have shot herself

Actress Lana Clarkson was found dead in Spector's home February 3.
Actress Lana Clarkson was found dead in Spector's home February 3.

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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- After a nearly eight-month investigation, the shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson, whose body was found in the mansion of legendary record producer Phil Spector, has been ruled a homicide, coroner's officials said Monday.

Clarkson, 40, was found dead in Spector's home February 3. The couple had met at a blues club earlier that evening.

"It was a single gunshot wound to the head and neck by another," said Los Angeles County coroner spokesman David Campbell, who declined to release the autopsy results or discuss details of the report pending a review by state prosecutors.

Spector, 63, was arrested on suspicion of murder the same day Clarkson's body was found but was released after posting $1 million bail that day. Sheriff's officials presented their case to the Los Angeles district attorney Thursday after examining more than 100 pieces of evidence, including the handgun used in Clarkson's death.

The night Clarkson was killed, she and Spector were seen together at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, where she worked as a hostess. The couple left together in Spector's chauffeur-driven Mercedes and went to his castlelike estate in Alhambra, a suburb east of downtown Los Angeles, authorities said.

Police found Clarkson's body a few hours later in the foyer of Spector's home after his chauffeur called 911 to report gunfire inside the estate, investigators said.

Sheriff's detectives declined to comment on Monday's autopsy report or on a possible motive for the shooting.

Earlier this summer, they issued a statement calling Clarkson's death "a criminal act" after Spector told Esquire magazine that Clarkson may have committed suicide.

A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles district attorney's office said prosecutors are examining the case but declined to comment about Monday's autopsy report.

Spector's attorney, Robert Shapiro, did not return several calls in response to the autopsy report.

The winner of two Grammy Awards, Spector produced records for Elvis Presley, Ike and Tina Turner, and John Lennon, and brought international fame in the 1960s to such groups as the Ronettes, the Crystals and the Righteous Brothers. He is credited with revolutionizing the recording industry for his concept of the "wall of sound," a technique that combined instruments, vocals and sound effects in the studio.

His work included a number of rock classics such as "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Then He Kissed Me" by the Crystals, and "Walking in the Rain" by the Ronettes.

Spector shared a Grammy for album of the year in 1972 with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and others for producing the Concert for Bangladesh album. He was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 but has remained reclusive over the past decade.

Clarkson appeared in small roles throughout her acting career, including "Scarface," "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," "Deathstalker" and "Blind Date."


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