Aubrey Berry Takes the Stand in his own Defense for First Degree Murder, case sent to jury

Rapper, Dolla

By Alex A. Alonso
STREETGANGS.COM STAFF WRITER
May 20, 2010 | 11:33 p.m.

LOS ANGELES, Calif – Today was the first full day of deliberations in the case against Aubrey Berry, 24, the accused killer of Roderick “Dolla” Burton. He finished testifying in his own defense on Monday after taking the stand the entire day on Friday under direct examination by his attorney Howard Price. Monday morning he was under cross examination for most of the morning and both sides rested their cases by the afternoon. On Tuesday both sides presented their closing statements to the jury and by 3:00 p.m. the case went to the jury for deliberations.

Background
The first portion of Berry’s the testimony on Friday focused on his background, education, family and career goals. Berry testified about being the victim of a robbery on May 18, 2007 to explain why he purchased his first weapon, a .380 that was lost by Delta Airlines. Since he was always dealing with cash working in the Atlanta club scene he felt vulnerable after being robbed at gun point. Berry also testified to being victim of a home invasion robbery. The prosecution pointed out that there was only documentation that proved one of these events.

Berry graduated from Clark Atlanta University on May 18, 2008 exactly one year prior to being arrested in the shooting death of Burton. Upon graduation he worked in commercial marketing but wanted to expand his business and contacts to Los Angeles and secured several business relationships in Los Angeles. In May of 2009 Berry was planning a major party at Club Ivar with a business partner that live in Los Angeles. There were trying to close a deal on a venue to hold an after party to the BET awards the following June.

Platinum 21 in Atlanta
Berry testified about an incident that occurred on May 7, 2009 at Club Platinum 21 in Atlanta which served as the catalyst to confrontation between Berry and Burton in Los Angeles 11 days later. Berry and friend Fred Taylor arrived at a very packed and crowded club at 1:30 a.m. While making his way through the crowd he literally bumped a young woman, Crystal Jackson, which caused her to spill some of her drink. Jackson was a friend that he knew from Clark Atlanta University and happened to be the girlfriend of Burton, who was also at the club with his manager Damian “Te-Money” Jackson and William “Scrap” Robinson.

This was the first video showed in court to explain the state of mind that Berry had when he shot Burton. Burton talks about assaulting “2 Pistols” and sending him to the hospital

Berry was confronted by Mr. Jackson who told him to stop disrespecting Crystal, and after a few words were exchanged, Berry walk away. Berry then stated that he found his friend Taylor and told him that he wanted to leave because of the escalating tension, then suddenly he was struck in the head by Mr. Jackson, and fell. He stated that he felt more hits and kicks from at least five other people. Security helped him up and he said that the group continued to taunt him yelling what he would later find out was “Mansfield Crip” from his friend Paul Simon. The prosecution challenged the claim that Mansfield or any gang taunts were said to him, because Berry was not familiar with Los Angeles gangs, but Simon testified that when Berry described the person that hit him, he knew that he was referring to Te-Money and that he was from Mansfield Crip. Te-Money has a distinct crown of thorns tattoos around his head.

Berry comes to Los Angeles
Berry arrived in Los Angeles on Saturday, May 16, 2009, picked up rental car from Hertz, checked into his hotel, Topanga Marriot, and goes to Club Les Deux with friend Paul Simon. Contrary to several rumors that began to spread after the shooting last year, Berry was not on the same plane as Burton, and he did not follow Burton to Los Angeles. He had specific business and had been making several trips to Los Angeles for over a year. Burton was already in Los Angeles on May 16, celebrating his girlfriend’s birthday.

On May 18, 2010, Berry planned a business lunch in Los Angeles and ended up at P.F. Chang’s Restaurant in the Beverly Center. Coincidentally, Burton, along with Will Robinson, Sadiq Abawe, and Syria Sylvers had agreed to eat at the same restaurant and arrived approximately 1:45 p.m.

Berry was not sure if he arrived before Burton’s party but the timeline suggests that Burton’s party arrived 30 to 40 minutes before. After being in the restaurant for about 20 minutes, appetizers were served at Berry’s table when he decided to visit the restroom. According to Sylvers, Burton immediately recognized Berry as he walked to the restroom at 2:56 p.m. according to the surveillance camera. Burton was seated at table close to the bathroom, and Berry testified that he noticed Burton and his group only after returning to his table from the restroom. When he returned to his table, he informed his friend that he had just encountered a person that he knew to be a Mansfield Crip and that he had an altercation with in Atlanta 11 days earlier. Berry is then told to leave and approximately eight minutes later surveillance footage shows Berry leaving. Berry stated that he was told that the Beverly Center was Mansfield’s “hood” so he agreed to leave.

This was the second video showed in court to explain the state of mind that Berry had when he shot Burton. T.I speaks on how he associates with only the “real.”

Berry testified that he walked out the restaurant and went straight to the valet to get his car while he was on the phone with his uncle Minefee. According to Berry, Minefee had told him to leave to avoid any problems. Berry then notices Burton leaving with his group while he is standing at the valet area. They make eye contact and Berry testified that Burton hands his bag to Sylvers, rolls up his sleeves and proceeds straight to him. Within moments Burton is in front of him about seven feet away, and Robinson is standing there at about the same distance with Abawi behind and Sylvers even further back. Sylvers testified to the same positioning of the men, and there was also a drawing (Exhibit O) that she did for the police that confirms the positioning of the group.

Berry testified that he felt surrounded and then Burton said, “what’s happening cuz?” he continued to back up, and Burton continued, “you are in my hood, you want to die?” according to Berry. Berry then testifies that he moved behind the valet desk, draws weapon down towards his right side after chambering a round. Burton continues to act aggressive and Berry claims that he noticed Burton reaching back for something and then fires. Molina, the parking attendant that he was standing right there right before the shooting claims stated that he heard some talking, but when asked by defense attorney Price if he heard harsh words, Molina did not know. Price asked Molina, “Did you see the four people approaching as these words you don’t recall were exchanged?” and Molina did not know. Sylvers actually testified that there were words exchanged between Burton and Berry but could not recall either. When she was referred to her testimony from the preliminary hearing, it refreshed her memory and she stated that Burton did say “what’s happening” which is usually considered a threat or challenge.

Berry does not recall how many shots he fired but he stated that Burton took cover behind the partitions east of the valet desk after firing, and then he does not see him again. The prosecution argued during cross examination that Berry shot him once in the valet area, and then he ran south west away from Berry. Then the prosecution is claiming that he turned to his left and fired in the direction of Robinson, Abawi and Sylvers then noticed Burton running away to his right and returned fired. During cross examination, Deputy District Attorney Grace stated that it is this third volley of bullets that inflicts the two fatal wounds to Burton’s back.

Closing Statements
Berry could not provide any detailed testimony about the actual shooting. He testified that he was frightened and that he could not remember any details of the shooting. In Grace’s closing statements to the jury, he stated that Berry was a liar and had selective amnesia about the shooting, but before the shooting and after the shooting Berry he has many details.
Price reminded the jury that Berry and Burton arriving at the restaurant at the same time was a “terrible coincident” for both of them. He began to attack the credibility of both Burton’s friends, Abawi and Sylvers who testified that no one smoked weed that morning before going to the restaurant but toxicology reports reveal the contrary. Price argued to the jury that you are to suspect that they all smoked weed.

Defense Attorney Howard Price


Price provided a time line of what occurred at the restaurant and reminded the jury that it was Berry that left the restaurant after seeing Burton at 3:04 p.m. and one minute later, with Burton in the lead, he leaves the restaurant with his friends behind him. The video surveillance shows Robinson giving his backpack to Sylvers, to have his hands free according to Price. Price reminded the jury that the expressions on their faces and the way the men were looking around as they walk out suggested that they were looking for Berry.

Price also pointed out several flaws in Molina’s testimony who represents the prosecution’s best witness to support their 1st degree murder theory, but Molina never knew where Burton’s group was positioned, he does not recall what Burton said, or what Berry said before the shooting. Price reminded the jury that Molina’s supervisor contaminated the crime scene by picking up bullet casings and then replacing them, but Molina did not recall how many casings were picked up and where the casings where returned before the police arrived.
Price stated that both the pathologist and coroner agreed that Burton’s arm was positioned in a way that was consistent with reaching back when he was shot in the bicep giving Berry a legitimate reason to defend with deadly force.

Through retired LAPD officer, Steve Strong, the defense were able to identify Burton as a Mansfield Crip member, which conflicted with testimony provided by Detective Holguin. Price also reminded the jury to remember the video where Burton claims that he assaulted rap producer 2 Pistols and to listen to the lyrics of Burton’s song, “Is You Holding.” Any reasonable person would believe that Burton may have had a gun Price told the jury. “Ask Scrap,” Price told the jury. Scrap had access to the gun and he refused to fully cooperate with the police, and he never came here to testify.

Deputy Districy Attorney Halim Dhanidina holds Aubrey Berry's 9mm semi-automatic weapon used to kill Roderick Burton

During rebuttal closing argument, Deputy District Attorney Halim Dhanidina, argued that all the gang allegations, the rap lyrics, the videos, Burton’s associations did not make Berry shoot and kill Burton and that the defense is relying on prejudices and stereotypes. He stated that people rap as a persona and the themes they rap about are not representative of who these rappers are. He showed how Ice T, Ice Cube, & LL Cool J have all rapped violent lyrics but they are also known for their mainstream appeal. Dhanidina stated that it was Berry that ambushed Burton in the valet area, and that he shot him in the back as he was fleeing.

Posted by on May 20 2010. Filed under Features, People of CA v. Aubrey Berry. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

20 Comments for “Aubrey Berry Takes the Stand in his own Defense for First Degree Murder, case sent to jury”

  1. Aubrey Berry was found not guilty on all charges and was released from the custody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department. He is at an undisclosed location, for fear of his safety, but we will try to get the first interview.

  2. nina

    why are people gonna protect someone that they found not guily if he is not guilly why are they protecting him sounds fishy to me . he ki*led someones son dolla never ki*led no one he might of made mistakes but he never ki*led no one i think aubrey used the oldest trick in the book self defence . why fear if you did not do nothing wrong he must be guilty in my eyes because why now he will be running an d hiding for the rest of his life . i really believe people no he is guilty and want to say self defence dolla was young and made mistakes but he sure didn’ t take anyones life

  3. nina

    i wonder why people are protecting this man they no he is guilty they want to protect him and they are happy because now they can say we finally got some revenge on the thugs they of course do not like and want to blame someone for the worlds problems and they blamed a kid that was so young and really did not no what life was about yet

  4. nina

    WHY ARE PEOPLE PROTECTING AUBREY IF HE DONE NOTHING WRONG . THAT IS STRANGE THE JUDGE LOST TOUCH WITH REALITY AND THE JURURS AND THE CROOKED LAWYERS WHEN SOMEONE IS FOUND NOT GUILY THAT MEANS HE DONE NO WRONG RIGHT SO WHY DOES HE NEED PROTECTION WHY ARE PEOPLE FEARING FOR HIS LIFE WHEN IN FACT HE TOOK ANOTHER ONES LIFE . THIS AUBREY IS AS GUILTY AS SIN HE CLAIMS HE WAS SCARED OF DOLLA AND HIS SO CALLED GANG MEMBER FRIENDS . DONT YOU THINK IF HE WAS SCARED OF DOLLA THEN AND ki*lED HIM DOLLAS BROTHERS WOULD GET HIM MORE AUBREY ISA LIAR PLAN AND QUITE SIMPLE. REAL GANG MEMBERS ki*lS PTHER GANG MEMBERS SO AUBREY BERRY IS LYING DOLLAS WORLD DID NOT REVOLVE AROUND AUBREY DOLLA MISTAKE WAS FIGHTING WITH HIM THATS IT THATS IT THATS IT AND THATS IT .

  5. nina

    WHY ARE PEOPLE PROTECTING AUBREY IF HE DONE NOTHING WRONG . THAT IS STRANGE THE JUDGE LOST TOUCH WITH REALITY AND THE JURURS AND THE CROOKED LAWYERS WHEN SOMEONE IS FOUND NOT GUILY THAT MEANS HE DONE NO WRONG RIGHT SO WHY DOES HE NEED PROTECTION WHY ARE PEOPLE FEARING FOR HIS LIFE WHEN IN FACT HE TOOK ANOTHER ONES LIFE . THIS AUBREY IS AS GUILTY AS SIN HE CLAIMS HE WAS SCARED OF DOLLA AND HIS SO CALLED GANG MEMBER FRIENDS . DONT YOU THINK IF HE WAS SCARED OF DOLLA THEN AND ki*lED HIM DOLLAS BROTHERS WOULD GET HIM MORE AUBREY ISA LIAR PLAN AND QUITE SIMPLE. REAL GANG MEMBERS ki*lS PTHER GANG MEMBERS SO AUBREY BERRY IS LYING DOLLAS WORLD DID NOT REVOLVE AROUND AUBREY DOLLA MISTAKE WAS FIGHTING WITH HIM THATS IT THATS IT THATS IT AND THATS IT .

    • Deanna

      None of the people on here seem to really know Aubrey or the situation very well. No human being deserves to die the way Dolla did. He was a bright young man with a promising future. People should realize that you cannot live a double life. You can’t on one hand claim to be a thug and a ki*ler in your rap lyrics and on the other hand expect to respected as a common unordinary law abiding person.
      Should Aubrey have shot Dolla? No! But some responsibility for the increasing drama of the situation must be placed on Dolla. Did he have to follow Aubrey out the restaurant? No. What do you people think he followed Aubrey outside for? A friendly conversation?!? At minimum Dolla was going to try and give Aubrey the beatdown of his life. Why? All because Aubrey accidently bumped Dolla’s girlfriend?! Where is this this woman? She was part of this whirlwind too.
      Two Black men had their lives destroyed over a spilled drink. We as the youth of Black America need to let go of the “keeping it real” attitiude and embrace God and live up to dream our forefathers and foremothers dreamed we could obtain.

  6. nina

    IF DOLLA REACHED FOR A WEAPON THEN WHERE IS IT WHAT WEAPON I SMELL A RAT AUBREY BERRY IS LYING . WHO BELIEVES LAWYERS THEY ARE GREEDY FOE MONEY THE OLDEST THING IN THE BOOK . DOLLA MAYBE A FIGHTER BUT WHO DIDN’T GET INTO FIGHTS AUBREY IS A ki*lER NOW WHAT ARE THE PEOPLE kil#i*gG PEOPLE INSANE . AUBREY BERRY SET THE BAIT AND DOLLA FOLLOWED AND THEN AUBREY SHOT HIM SEE I BELIEVE AUBREY IS SMART SO HE SET THE BAIT AND THEN SHOT LIKE A MADMAN WHAT PLANET DOES A UBREY BELIEVE A FIGHT SHOULD LEAD TO kil#i*gG THIS MAN IS CRAZY AND DOLLAS MOTHER SHOULD AND I HOPE WILL STILL FIGHT IT A LEAST FOR HER SON. DOLLA HAD NO GUN ON HIM. AUBREY BELONGS IN A JAIL WITH A DOCTER THAT WHAT I BELIEVE

  7. nina

    DOLLA WAS A RAPPER NOT A GANGTER RAPPER OR WHATEVER PEOPLE ARE SAYING USING THIS AGAINST HIM , I BET YOU EVEN AUBREY WOULD OF LISTENED TO HIS SONGS . AND THEN CRY HE RAPPRD ABOUT VOILENCE AND THEN DANCE TO THEM . WHY IS HE IN PROTECTION WHEN HE ki*lED SOMEONE THIS SOMEONE SHOULD WRITE A BOOK ABOUT MAYBE ME THAT WOULD BE NICE. AUBREY BERRY IS A VERY CLEVER MAN SMART BUT STUPID

  8. nina

    I DONT BELIEVE THE CORONER THAT DOLLA WAS REACHING BACK WHEN HE WAS ALREADY SHOT IN THE BICEP THAT MAKES NO SENSE HE WAS REACHING BACK WHEN HE WAS ALREADY SHOT IN THE BICEP WHAT FOOL IS GOONA BELIEVE THAT SOMEBODY BETTER PRAY THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT LYING OR THE LAWYER TWISTED THE TRUTH BECAUSE THAT MAKES NO SENSE. DOLLA NEVER HAD NO GUN . AUBREY HAD FRIENDS WITH HIMMSO HE WAS NOT SCARED OF BEING JUMPED . DOLLA WAS YOUING AND MADE MISTAKES LIKE WE ALL DO BUT AUBREY ki*lED HIM AND THAT A BIIGER MISTAKE DOLLA NEVER ki*lED NO ONE .

  9. nina

    I DONT BELIEVE THE CORONER THAT DOLLA WAS REACHING BACK WHEN HE WAS ALREADY SHOT IN THE BICEP THAT MAKES NO SENSE HE WAS REACHING BACK WHEN HE WAS ALREADY SHOT IN THE BICEP WHAT FOOL IS GOONA BELIEVE THAT SOMEBODY BETTER PRAY THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT LYING OR THE LAWYER TWISTED THE TRUTH BECAUSE THAT MAKES NO SENSE. DOLLA NEVER HAD NO GUN . AUBREY HAD FRIENDS WITH HIMMSO HE WAS NOT SCARED OF BEING JUMPED . DOLLA WAS YOUING AND MADE MISTAKES LIKE WE ALL DO BUT AUBREY ki*lED HIM AND THAT A BIIGER MISTAKE DOLLA NEVER ki*lED NO ONE .

  10. nina

    IF DOLLA WAS REACHING BACK WHAT DOES THAT MEAN ? ARE THEY TRYING TO SAY HE HAD A GUN IN HIS BACK OR IN HIS BACK PANTS . IF HE GOT SHOT IN THE BICEP HE WAS GONNA REACH BACK AND RUN AWAY COMMON SENSE. HE SHOT HIM THE BICEP SO HE COULD NOT MOVE HIS ARM . DOLLA NEVER HAD NO GUN. WHERE IS THE TAPE WHEN AUBREY WAS SHOOTING DOLLA . IF AUBREY SAW A GUN ON DOLLA THEN HE COULD OF SAID I COULD START SHOOTING AT THIS MAN. AND USE DEADLYB FORCE . AND THE SONG ABOUT ARE YOU HOLDING DID NOT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH AUBREY . THIS MAN IS CRAZY FOR kil#i*gG AN UNARMED MAN

  11. nina

    WHAT DOES REACHING BACK MEAN WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT AUBREYS GUN WAS NOT REGISTERED WHERE HE ki*lED DOLLA IN THE FIRST PLACE HE SHOULD BE DOING SOME TIME FOR THAT DOLAS MOTHER SHOULD TAKE HIM BACK TO COURT AUBREY USED DEADLY FORCE OVER SOME FIGHTING WORDS WHERE IN A VIDEO DID YOU SEE DOLLA ki*l ANYONE. NO WHERE THERE ARE ALOT OF COLLEGE ki*lERS GOING TO COLLEGE MEANS NOTHING PEOPLE . AUBREY IS A ki*lER AND ALWAYS WAS .IT IS IN HIM TO ki*l I CAN SEE IF HE WOUNDED DOLLA HE TALKING ABOUT HOE SCARED HE IS WELL DONT HE NO IF HE DONE WRONG BY kil#i*gG SOMEONE PEOPLE ARE NOT GONNA BE HAPPY . WOULDNT HE BE MORE SCARED MAKES NO SENSE THAT HE HAD TO USE THAT MUCH FORCE ON DOLLA NOW HE HAS TO BE IN PROTECTION BECAUSE PEOPLE NO THAT IS WRONG TO ki*l A MAN THAT NEVER ki*lED NOONE DOLLA MADE MISTAKES BUT HE NEVER ki*lED NO ONE HE WAS YOUNG AND YOUNGER THAN AUBREY.

  12. COOL

    I DONT CARE WHAT THE JUDGE SAYS AUBREY BERRY STILL ki*lED SOMEONE AND USED SELF DEFENCE AUBREY BERRY IS NO DUMMY HE WASNT SCARED OF BEING JUMPED HE HAD PEOPLE WITH HIM. i do not care what the jurors think the are all dead to the bone wrong . why policeprotection when he done no wrong and sin . does not make sense he has to live in police protection what kind of life is this crazy life man if he could ki*l someone this man is crazy he has it in him to ki*l what is he gonna do every time he runs scared ki*l someone and use self defence grow up aubrey berry grow up . people are ignorant he may of had the oppurtunity to go to college and maybe dolla didnt that does it make it right to ki*l and use self defence .aubrey berry looks lollipopy just saying . he stuck for himself but he could of used a better thing to do besides ki*l dolla he could of set him up noing dolla would follow him amd them he got him . aubrey berry is not a dummy he played the fool but only a ignorant person will believe his story

  13. candy

    dollas mother SHOULD APPEAL LOOKS LIKE AUBREY GUN WAS NOT REGISTERED IN CALI THAT IS A CRIME HE NEW THE LAWS AND USED THIS FOR HIS COMFORT IN CALI THIS WAS NOT SELF DEFENCE IT WAS ONLY A FIGHT DOLLA WAS NOT NO MURDERER AUBREY WAS THE CRAZY ONE kil#i*gG SOMEONE AND BEING STUPID ABOUT IT HOW COULD THE JUDGE NOT REALIZE THIS WHAT KIND OF MIND DO PEOPLE HAVE TO IGNORE THIS WAS MURDER TO THE FULLEST kil#i*gG SOMEONE UNARMED BECAUSE YOU ARE SCARED I UNDERSTAND BEING SCARED BUT MURDER IS SOMETHING DIFFERENT .

  14. candy

    I’ll bet you he is in protection now by kil#i*gg a unmarmed man thus murder should of beeen avoided the judge and the laws are crazy and then comparing snoop dogs problem is even more stupid because the case was different

  15. candy

    IF DOLLA WAS SO CALLED IN A GANG DONTYOU THINK HE WOULD OF ki*lED HIM THAT NIGHT HE FOUGHT HIM. when gang people fight they fight to ki*l they never let the person walk away.

  16. candy

    AUBREY IS NOT NO FREE MAN IN POLICE PROTECTION NOW HE REALLY CAN SAY HE IS AFRAID OF PEOPLE WHAT IS HE GONNA DO NOW SHOOT EVERYONE WHO HE HAS TO BE PROTECTED BY AUBREY IS FULL OF LIES SAYING HE IS SCARED OF DOLLA AND HIS SO CALLED GANG ATTHE MALL

  17. dude

    AUBREY IS NOT FREE HE IS CRAZY WHICH HE HAS TO LIVE WITH THIS WITH NO PEACE OF MIND

  18. dude

    i bet the cops have to watch there backs with aubrey

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