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LOS ANGELES - Five years after a blonde actress was found shot dead in his Los Angeles mansion, legendary music producer Phil Spector's murder retrial begins today with the start of a jury selection.
Spector, the eccentric musical genius who created the famous "Wall of Sound" recording technique, avoided conviction after a six-month trial last year that ended with a jury deadlocked.
His trial was the latest in a series of celebrity cases in California that have failed to end in a guilty verdict, following acquittals for OJ Simpson, Michael Jackson and actor Robert Blake.
The stalemate was the latest twist in the legal saga that had seen Spector's prosecution repeatedly delayed since the body of B-movie actress Lana Clarkson was found at the producer's home in February 2003.
Today a pool of jurors will be given questionnaires aimed at finding what prior knowledge they have of the case, before formal vetting begins at Los Angeles Superior Court on October 14.
Jean Rosenbluth, a former federal prosecutor who teaches law at the University of Southern California, said she expected Spector's retrial to be "shorter and more streamlined" than the first.
At his first trial, prosecutors alleged that Spector, 68, shot Clarkson as she attempted to leave his home after meeting him for the first time only hours earlier at the Hollywood nightclub where she worked.
Defence lawyers said Clarkson, 40, best-known for her role in Roger Corman's 1985 cult classic The Barbarian Queen but whose career had stalled at the time of her death, killed herself. - Sapa-AFP