Spector guilty: A Los Angeles jury ruled this week that legendary rock producer Phil Spector murdered aspiring actress Lana Clarkson in 2003 after a night of drinking. Spector, 68, was convicted of second-degree murder after a five-month trial, the second in the case; the first, in 2007, ended in a hung jury. Prosecutors said that Spector met Clarkson, 40, at the Sunset Strip restaurant where she worked. They allegedly spent the evening drinking, and when she rebuffed his romantic overtures, he shot her once in the head, telling his driver, “I think I killed somebody.” The defense had argued that Clarkson shot herself. Spector, who produced such hits as “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” and “Da Doo Ron Ron,” faces at least 18 years in prison.
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Tax protests: Thousands of demonstrators nationwide held April 15 “Tea Parties” to protest the Obama administration’s tax and economic plans. Demonstrators from New Hampshire to California held signs declaring that they were “Taxed Enough Already” and waved tea bags—in an echo of tax-protesting colonists who staged the Boston Tea Party in 1773. In San Antonio, thousands turned out to hear Fox News host Glenn Beck and rocker Ted Nugent. Republican strategists hope to link demonstrators online, eventually building an online operation to rival that built by Barack Obama during the presidential campaign. In Washington, D.C., protesters canceled plans to dump 1 million tea bags in Lafayette Park because they lacked a permit.
Franken wins, almost: Democrat Al Franken drew more votes than incumbent Republican Norm Coleman and should be certified the victor in Minnesota’s interminable Senate contest, a Minnesota court ruled this week. In a unanimous 68-page decision, three state judges rejected Coleman’s claims that some absentee ballots had been double-counted while others hadn’t been counted at all. The “election was conducted fairly, impartially, and accurately,” the judges wrote. Said Franken, “It’s time that Minnesota, like every other state, has two senators.” But Coleman indicated he would appeal to the state Supreme Court, and Franken will not be seated in the meantime. The court said the former comedian won the November contest by 312 votes, out of nearly 3 million votes cast.
Storms batter South: Storms packing heavy rains and high winds tore through the Southeast this week, causing at least two deaths and battering a region still cleaning up from tornadoes the week before. The rough weather socked Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, and northern Florida, downing trees already weakened by several days of torrential rain. “The root system is loose, so it doesn’t take a lot to blow the trees over,” said Nate Mayes of the National Weather Service. One falling tree killed an 18-year-old man when it crashed through the roof of his house, and another killed a man as he sat in his car. The storm lifted floating docks out of the Tennessee River in northern Alabama, depositing them on a nearby highway.
Tuckerman Ravine, N.H.
Climbers survive avalanche: Two climbers on New Hampshire’s famed Mount Washington this week rode a wave of snow and debris more than 800 feet down the mountain and walked away with nothing more than cuts, scrapes, and a broken finger. Daniel Zucker of Vermont and Tim Finocchio of Massachusetts, both experienced climbers, were ascending the mountain when they were caught in an avalanche. The cascade of snow drove them over a small cliff and onto a wooded slope, where they bounced from tree to tree before coming to a halt in a pile of snow. “It’s like a bunch of people were hired to stop me by beating me with bats as I went by,” Zucker said. Officials said the men were “incredibly fortunate.”
Fort Myers, Fla.
Safe landing: Guided by air-traffic controllers, a passenger aboard a twin-engine plane this week safely landed the craft after the pilot passed out at the controls and died. The passenger, Doug White, of Archibald, La., was traveling with his wife and two daughters aboard a Super King Air turboprop when pilot Joe Cabuk blacked out. White radioed air-traffic controllers in Miami, who guided him to a Fort Myers airport and talked him through the landing. White has a pilot’s license, but had never before flown a twin-engine plane. “The only thing I knew how to do up there was talk on the radio,” White said. Officials said the pilot apparently suffered a heart attack.
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