Phil Spector trial begins in L.A.

April 25, 2007 at 11:19 PM

LOS ANGELES, April 25 (UPI) -- Attorneys painted music producer Phil Spector as a villain and victim Wednesday in his trial for the slaying of an actress in his Los Angeles-area home.

Spector, 67, is charged in the shooting death of Lana Clarkson, whom he met at a club and invited to his Alhambra mansion on Feb. 3, 2003. If convicted, he could face a 15-years-to-life sentence, the Los Angeles Times said Wednesday.

"Ladies and gentlemen, you will be introduced to evidence of the defendant's very rich history of violence, a history of violence against women, a history of violence involving guns," Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson told the jury in his opening statement.

Defense attorney Bruce Cutler dismissed the prosecution's contention that Spector has such a history.

"The evidence will show this was a tragic accident," Cutler said. "The evidence will also show that before they even had a cause of death, (the police) had murder on their minds."

Cutler resumes his opening statement Thursday.

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