A guy who shot and killed one up-and-coming rapper in ~ the Beverly center last year to be acquitted of killing Friday in a instance that focused in part on the victim’s violence-laced gangsta lab lyrics.

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Aubrey Berry, 24, to be hugged by his defense attorney as the last of the not guilty verdicts was read in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom. Friends and family the rapper Dolla, whose real name to be Roderick Anthony Burton II, wailed and sobbed in the audience.

“Obviously, what occurred on may 18, 2009, to be a awful tragedy because that everyone,” remarkable Court referee Michael E. Pastor told the lawyers in court. “The jurors have actually spoken.”

Berry testified last week that he opened fire in self-defense in the parking garage of the upscale mall. He said Burton, 21, intimidated to kill him close to the valet desk and reached toward his back as despite he were illustration a gun. Police discovered no weapon on Burton, that was shot as soon as in the left biceps and three times in the back.

Berry testified that Burton had been part of a team of guys who kicked and punched the 11 days earlier at one Atlanta nightclub.

Minutes prior to the shooting, the two men saw each various other again if dining individually at P.F. Chang’s in the Beverly Center. Berry stated he left the restaurant in fear and also watched Burton leaving a minute later and run at him.

Berry had a covert handgun ~ above his hip, a weapon he claimed he routinely brought after gift the victim of numerous violent crimes. He had a permit to bring the firearm in Georgia and also other states yet said the did no realize the allow did not apply to California.

Jurors deliberated less than 2 days before rejecting killing or manslaughter dues in Burton’s death and assault charges in which Berry to be accused of firing in ~ two men who were with Burton at the time of the shooting. Only Burton to be struck through gunfire.

external court, defense attorney Howard R. Price hailed the jury for closely weighing the evidence and faulted the ar attorney’s office for pursuing the shooting as a murder, calling the decision “absurd.”

“This is plainly a case of justice gift done,” that said.

throughout the trial, Berry told jurors he had learned about Burton with online research study after the Atlanta assault. He claimed he regarded an Internet video clip in which Burton stood through alleged corridor members and also boasted around breaking a masculine jaw. And also he listened to one of Burton’s songs in which the rapper glorified gangs and bragged around always delivering a gun.

Price explained Burton as a violent gang member and also played both the video and the tune — “Is friend Holdin’?” — throughout closing disagreements this week. He stated they proved that Berry was justified in fearing for his life once he shooting Burton.

“His music is horrendous, offensive,” Price said Friday as he waited because that his client to leaving court. “I nothing think he engendered any type of sympathy.”

Deputy Dist. Atty. Bobby Grace claimed he was disappointed through the verdict but felt prosecutors gift a compelling case. He said he was unsure whether the rap lyrics swayed the jury.

“You’d hate to think the was the tipping point,” that said exterior court.

Jurors said the referee they go not desire to speak come reporters and also were escorted native the courthouse through a secure exit.

Prosecutors said during the trial the Burton’s music to be irrelevant. They claimed his lyrics were simply entertainment: part of a gangsta laboratory genre that went mainstream year ago. And also they accused the defense of victimizing Burton again through characterizing him as a thug.

Prosecutors said jurors the Berry to be lying about the shooting and also argued the ballistics and also blood proof showed the singer was to run away when the deadly shots into his back were fired.

yet Price disagreed, speak Burton was stationary and also posing a threat when he to be shot. The lawyer said the ordeal of the critical year had taken a toll on his client, who was housed in isolation in jail to ensure his security from corridor members.

Price stated he believed that Berry, who had no criminal record, to be the crucial to his very own acquittal.

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“He to be such a lovable, likable human being that ns think people understood and also accepted his version,” Price said. “Aubrey might never have won this instance if the jury go not think him.”



As senior editor that investigations, Jack Leonard oversees the occupational of a team that investigative reporters in the Los Angeles Times’ metro section and coordinates investigative story in other departments and investigative partnerships with other organizations. As a reporter, the was part of the team the exposed fraud and abuse in California’s conservatorship system, a series that winner several national awards. That went ~ above to investigate how at an early stage releases indigenous L.A.’s jail device perverts justice and fosters more crime top top the street. Later, he functioned on a sweeping expose of abuse and corruption in the L.A. Ar Sheriff’s Department.