Witnesses: DA Bullied Testimony That Put Rapper Away For 30 Years

David Lohr | Huffpost
March 18, 2015

rapper-MAC wrongful convictionST. TAMMANY PARISH, La. — Fourteen years after rapper McKinley “Mac” Phipps was convicted of manslaughter in the shooting death of a teenage fan at a show, five prosecution witnesses have told The Huffington Post that police and prosecutors bullied them into fingering the once-promising hip-hop artist as the gunman.

The star witness, Yulon James, who testified she saw Phipps fire the fatal shot, said she was repeatedly threatened by the parish district attorney’s office, headed by DA Walter Reed, who left office in January amid a reported federal grand jury investigation into campaign funds and side businesses.

“They stalked my house, they stalked my job and they stalked my family,” said James, who now acknowledges she “didn’t see anything” and testified falsely against Phipps. “The DA came over to my parents’ house and told me I would have my baby in prison if I didn’t testify.”

Reed’s office has not responded to calls and emails from The Huffington Post, nor has his attorney, Richard T. Simmons. The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office declined to comment.

James said she came forward with the story because Reed is no longer in power. Reed’s 30-year run as DA ended this year after he decided not to seek a seventh term amid the ongoing investigation. There has been no indication that the probe involves cases his office prosecuted.

In a four-month review of Phipps’ conviction, The Huffington Post identified four other witnesses — former nightclub owner Dwight Guyot, the victim’s cousin Jerry Price, Phipps’ cousin Larnell Warren and club-goer Jamie Wilson — who said they were threatened, jailed or flat-out ignored by authorities. The claims, along with James’ recantation, appear to cast doubt on Phipps’ conviction.

‘Murda, Murda, Kill, Kill’

Read more here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/18/mckinley-mac-phipps-wrongful-conviction_n_6612074.html?utm_hp_ref=black-voices&ir=Black%20Voices

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