BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Baton Rouge rapper Lil Boosie was back in court Wednesday for a status conference prior to his murder trial.
Lil Boosie, whose real name is Torrence Hatch, faces a first-degree murder charge in the 2009 shooting death of Terry Boyd. Boyd was found shot to death in his home in October 2009. It is believed Lil Boosie ordered a hit on Boyd.
One of Wednesday's pre-trial motions requested an anonymous jury, which raises questions about safety concerns during this high-profile case.
"We will refer to them as a number and not know their actual name, neither side, other than maybe a clerk of court will know their names and just refer to them by a number," said District Attorney Hillar Moore.
Moore insisted the anonymous jury is not that unusual. The defense objected to the motion and asked if the desire for an anonymous jury was because of safety concerns.
Moore said that is not the case, but it appears he does have other security concerns. He said he will not do interviews outside of the court building during the trial, but will conduct them inside in a more secure environment.
Jason Williams, Hatch's defense attorney, said the concerns over security problems caused by his client are overblown.
"Real, legitimate threats, there are none," Williams said. "He's more closely monitored than anyone in else in the state of Louisiana up there at Angola."
Moore also filed a motion requesting handwriting samples from Hatch.
"With regard to the handwriting exemplars, I don't want to get into any detail. This defendant is presumed innocent just like anyone else," Moore explained.
Williams agreed that requesting handwriting samples in a criminal case is not uncommon, especially when the defendant is a celebrity.
"Anytime you've got a high-profile person in the music industry, especially in the hip hop industry, you'll find that prosecutors like to prosecute them for their lyrics, their videos, rather than what they actually have as evidence in the case," Williams added.
Hatch pleaded guilty in November to three counts of conspiring to bring drugs into a penal institution. Judge Mike Erwin sentenced him to eight years in prison.
His lawyers had subpoenaed Michael Louding, also known as Marlo Mike, to testify on Lil Boosie's behalf after repeatedly trying to get Louding on the stand.
Louding's attorney, Margaret Lagatutta, said she will fight the subpoena. It is unknown where that battle currently stands.
Louding is accused of six separate murders. Prosecutors said Louding told them he was hired as a hitman by Lil Boosie.
It is unclear if the death penalty is on the table.