After only an hour of deliberation, the jury in the case delivered their unanimous not guilty verdict Friday afternoon at the 19th Judicial District Courthouse in Baton Rogue, Louisiana.
Boosie, born Torrance Hatch, was accused of paying Michael “Marlo Mike” Louding, 19, $2,800 to kill 35-year-old Terry Boyd back in 2009. Boyd was shot through a window while inside his home. The already-controversial case gained even more attention when the decision was made to allow the rapper’s lyrics to be entered as evidence, as jurors heard a capella excerpts of his 2010 song “Bodybag” and 2011 song “187,” the latter of which includes the lines, “Yo Marlo/He drive a Monte Carlo/That bitch gray, I want that n—a dead today.” The lyric was argued to be a reference to Louding and the Boyd murder and was one of a number of pieces of circumstantial evidence presented by the prosecution. That evidence also included Boosie’s tattoos and phone evidence that allegedly put Louding in the vicinity of Boosie’s home before and after the killing.
During his closing statements, Boosie’s attorney Jason Williams said that the use of violent imagery in rap songs was not evidence of a crime and that the prosecution was being influenced by the nature of the rapper’s music.
“She has put the entertainment industry on trial,” Williams said of lead prosecutor Dana Cummings, USA Today reports. “She has put an entire culture on trial.”
The state’s efforts were not enough to convict, and the defense team was so confident in the weakness of the prosecution’s case that they made the risky decision not to call any witnesses. Rolling Stone reports that Williams rested the defense only 10 minutes after the prosecution rested its case.
“We didn’t have to call a single witness because every single witness that testified helped the case of Torence Hatch,” Williams told reporters after the verdict. “We didn’t call a single witness because every single witness they called, even the police officers, did not say anything connecting Torence to this.”
“The state put on its best case, but all the evidence supported the defense –- right down to the very last witness, Rochelle Wagner, the sister of Terry Boyd and the mother of [Hatch’s] child,” said Martin Regan, another of the MC’s attorneys, according to Rolling Stone. “She took the stand and said what everyone else reiterated: there was never any beef between [Hatch] and Terry Boyd.”
Williams also noted that he doesn’t feel the jury’s racial makeup — 10 blacks and two whites — had anything to do with the not guilty verdict.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore did not speak to reporters after the trial.
Reports say Boosie reacted to the not guilty verdict with quiet confidence, whispering “Thank God” to himself and slowing raising his fist into the air to signify victory. Supporters outside the courthouse were reportedly ecstatic at the news and danced and clapped in celebration.
While he was acquitted of this more serious crime, Boosie will remain in jail as he was already serving an eight-year sentence for an unrelated drug charge.
Along with the Boyd case, Louding also faces murder charges in five other deaths over a 14-month span.