New York man convicted of murder after
rap lyrics used as evidence
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[June 27, 2014]
By Ellen Wulfhorst
NEW YORK (Reuters) - An accused New York
City gang member was found guilty of a slew of violent crimes, including
three murders, on Thursday after a trial in which his boastful, graphic
rap lyrics were used as evidence against him.
A Brooklyn federal jury convicted Ronald "Ra Diggs" Herron, 32, of
all 23 charges against him, from racketeering to drug trafficking to
gang-related killings between 2001 and 2009, following the
Prosecutors used Herron's "gangsta rap" videos - in which he boasts
about belonging to the infamous Bloods street gang, firing weapons
and dealing drugs - to argue the lyrics documented his crimes.
Herron's lawyers argued that the lyrics were not autobiographical,
but were commentary on crime, violence and drug wars in the inner
Following the verdict, U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said Herron used
the lyrics to glorify his "criminal lifestyle."
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“He styled himself a rap artist, but the jury’s verdict makes clear
who Herron really is, a drug dealer and murderer who sought power
through fear and intimidation," she said in a statement.
The American Civil Liberties Union has said there are about 18 cases
nationwide in which rap lyrics have been introduced to help convict
(Editing by Andre Grenon)
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