In a letter that Phil Spector — currently serving 19-years-to-life for murdering Lana Clarkson — wrote to a pen pal, and exclusively obtained by Gawker, the music legend is convinced that he is the true victim of his crime.
The last we paid attention to Spector, 69, he had been un-wigged and locked up for likely the remainder of his life after Clarkson "kissed the gun" he put in her mouth one drunken night in 2003. But he still has supporters, including Sandra Horine, a 43-year-old mother of two from Alice, Texas, who has become one of his prison pen pals.
A letter that he wrote to her in July (reproduced in full below) paints a picture of Spector as an angry and bitter man, remorseless about his crime and consumed by a victim complex. Spector, who signs off as the "Wizard of Iz," listed a raft of complaints about life at the Corcoran State Prison where he is locked in a 7 foot by 3 foot cell 23 hours a day, from how the guards intimidate him, to not being able to see his wife, Rachelle, to the "cruel" way that he was sent away before he had a chance to settle his business affairs. "They call this a "civilized" society. Bugs live more civilized beneath their rocks!"
Though it was more than six years between is first indictment for Clarkson's death until his sentencing last May (his first trial resulted in a mistrial), he complains how "cruel" it was for authorities to send him to jail before he had a chance to "tidy up my business affairs." He writes that it's "insane and very dangerous" when guards declare a lockdown six times a day. He accuses prison officials of playing "mind games" and being "jealous" of him when they won't allow him to see his wife Rachelle. And of the judge who sent him away, he writes, "I'm enraged with hate at that ... judge for sending me here and [it's] hate that keeps me going." Perhaps most galling to Clarkson's friends and family, he concludes, "They call this a "civilized" society. Bugs live more civilized beneath their rocks!"
A few of Spector's jailhouse missives have emerged since he was sent away last May. A letter he wrote to his friend Steve Escobar complained that he had been locked up in the same prison as Charles Manson, though he's held in a different complex reserved for prisoners undergoing substance abuse treatment. And as much as he says he hates Corcoran, he successfully protested being moved to another prison where his wife told the New York Post he thought he'd be killed.
Horine, who designs signage for a beer distributor, told Gawker that she closely followed both of Spector's trials and thinks that he is innocent. After he was sent to prison, she began writing him unsolicited letters. "I never in my wildest dreams thought he'd write me back." She's now lost count of how many letters they've exchanged — the latest, which she had in her purse when we reached her on the phone, arrived on Aug. 28 — and they even sometimes speak on the phone. More recently, she says, Spector's spirits have been up: "He's much better since he's gotten to see his wife."
At first, Horine forwarded the letters on to members of a "Free Phil Spector" email list she belongs to, and the internet being the internet, it ended up being passed along to us. But she's since started keeping her Spector correspondence private. "I don't want to share them with just anybody because these are letters he's writing me," adding, "Even though he's in there, he's still Phil Spector."
It's kind of gross, yes, but celebrity long ago superseded infamy. And, besides, there's no moral calculus in which corresponding with a murderer is worse than murders. For anyone who think what Spector did was heinous, the sputtering anger of an old man who's facing death alone and scared, this letter is evidence of justice being done.
The scans of the letter are tough to read, so we tried to transcribe it. There were some parts that were illegible, which we put in brackets, sometimes with our best guess of the missing words or letters.
[Rec]eived your 2 letters and I thank you [for] both of them and your kind words of encouragment + support. I am deeply most appreciative living in this "hell hole" which I call "The [Tar]antula Arms" or God's little acre [jus]t east of a rock + west of a hard place. I'm enraged with hate at that [ ] + judge for sending me here and [it's] hate that keeps me going. Some say hate is a good motivation. But I don't know how long it can last. This 24/7 lockdown life is slowly driving me insane and killing [me]. Did you know that six times a [day] they set off an "alarm" where [ ] you have to get face down on the floor wherever you are and remain there until the alarm goes off. Anyone who does not and is seen standing is "shot at"! They don't [tell] you if they use real bullets or not but they could. People have been known to die in this "drill." It's a warning to all prisoners not to "get out of line." And a way to keep the guards "sharp." It's insane and very dangerous. They play real [ ]ious "games" here in this prison.
Another note. Very rarely I am allowed out of my cell. In never go out-[ ]s as the desert heat daily is 112 degrees. But indoors I sometimes have access to a phone - sometimes. And [rar]ely. If I do I call Rachelle or my [daug]hter. Would you like me to try to call you if possible? The rules are strict and simple: I can only call collect (no credit cards are accepted). And I can only call to a land line - no cell phones. Rachelle forwards her land line to her cell phone to not miss my calls because she never knows when I might call. Would reimburse you at the end of the month through my trust fund for the amount of would appear on your phone bill "if" you wanted to do it and if I could call. [You] of course would have to send me your phone (land line) number. And if I could ever call it would be between the hours of 9:15 AM and 11:15 AM California time and one o'clock PM to 3:45 PM California time, weekdays only. Let me know if you are interested.
The appeal will take about a year and I [ ] I can endure this hellish prison [ ]e for that long. Rachelle has still not been "cleared" to see me. I have not seen her in person in almost 2 months. I think the prison is playing "mind games" with me. They are also [hol]ding back the mail she is sending [or] "pretending" she is not writing when I know she is. It's a thing they do with "celebrities" which they consider me. And older men who have younger wives. It's a "game" they play. [I th]ink they are just jealous. July marked the 3rd month I've been [ ]sely imprisoned 24/7, in a 7' by 3' cell. I have not felt this depressed, [alo]ne or lonely since my little boy (Nicole's twin brother) died at age 10 in 1992. This is a terrible + helpless feeling. Just as it was when they took me away in one minute with no chance to say goodbye or [ ] anyone or tidy up my business affairs. How cruel but apparently not unusual. And they call this a "civilized" society. Bugs live more civilized beneath their rocks!
I'm gonna go now. And remember in order to get from what was - to what will be - you've got to go through what is - and I'm the - "Wizard of Iz"