The judge in the Phil Spector murder trial has received a death threat from an enraged fan of the music producer, calling for the "evil" magistrate's demise.
The threat addressed to Judge Larry Paul Fidler appeared on social networking site MySpace, where the user had posted a photograph of the producer's wife, Rachelle, wearing a 'Team Spector' T-shirt, accompanied by the words: "The evil judge should die!".
Spector stands accused of murdering actress Lana Clarkson in his Alhambra, California mansion in 2003. He has maintained his innocence and his lawyers claim the depressed star either shot herself on purpose or by accident.
A police investigation has been launched into the online post - which has now been removed from the website.
Alan Parachini, spokesman for the Los Angeles Superior Court, reveals local authorities are taking the threat very seriously because it "clearly met the standard for referral to the sheriff's department".
He adds, "I'm not going to assume that there is any relationship to the defendant, his wife or his friends. I don't know that."
But Parachini insisted it was not unusual for a judge to be targetted in such a high-profile case, saying, "More threats... occur than the public knows."
Spector's lawyers have denied Rachelle's involvement in the posting.
The jury has failed to reach a decision since deliberations began on 10 September (07), with the panel stuck in a 7-5 deadlock.