Jury selection begins in Lil Boosie murder trial

Torrence Hatch, also known as Lil Boosie
Torrence Hatch, also known as Lil Boosie

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Several hundred people will arrive in downtown Baton Rouge Monday as potential jurors for the murder trial of Baton Rouge rapper Lil Boosie, but only 12 of them will eventually be selected to hear the case.

Extra security has been brought in as well.  The street next to the East Baton Rouge Parish Courthouse has been closed, although according to the Department of Public Works that is because of upcoming construction.  Behind the road closed sign, sits a Baton Rouge Police car.  Across the street, several East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Deputies are standing watch and officers on horseback are also on patrol around the courthouse.

The law enforcement presence downtown is not something several local attorneys are used to seeing.

"Not all the time," said Terry Bonnie.  "But I'm glad we got security."

Lil Boosie, whose real name is Torrance Hatch, is on trial for first-degree murder. However, the death penalty is not on the table if he's found guilty.

A total of 700 people have been summoned to appear for jury duty this week for this trial and others. Normally, 500 people are summoned.  Monday, 150 potential jurors spent the morning answering a questionnaire.  Questions such as: What is your religion?  What are your hobbies?  Have you followed stories related to this trial?  Local attorneys say that type of questionnaire will be helpful in a trial such as this.

"We're trying to get to know them," said Jason Williams, one of Hatch's attorneys.  Williams says once those jurors hear the facts of the case, "Mr. Hatch will certainly be acquitted."

Prosecutors have named at least 30 people they could call to the witness stand during the trial.

Hatch faces murder charges in connection with a murder-for-hire scheme. The judge is allowing some specific lyrics to be brought up in the trial.

Prosecutors said specific lyrics equal intent. Defense attorneys said it's just a rapper doing his job.

Three specific words are what prosecutors hope will link Torrance Hatch to the killing of Terry Boyd on October 21, 2009. Those words include 187, mirk and cake.

Prosecutor Dana Cummings presented a Baton Rouge Police detective who said the words "187" and "mirk" mean murder and the word "cake" means money.

Defense attorney Jason Williams agrees that those are Hatch's words, but that's not what they mean.

"Torrence Hatch wrote some of those lyrics," said Williams. "There are other artists who wrote other parts of the lyrics. The lyrics have nothing to do with this crime. He's a rap artist. He has thousands of lyrics."

Prosecutors also called on a computer forensics expert to try and prove the lyrics were found on a computer around the same time Boyd was killed, which could prove intent.

Defense attorneys have already admitted the voice on that computer was Hatch's. They said the prosecution is bringing up the lyrics because they don't have enough evidence to link Hatch to killing Boyd.

"They're going to be talking about what Michael Louding did, what someone else did, but it's not going to be about what Torrence Hatch did," said Williams.

The detective who took the stand said in his questioning that Louding, who is also known as "Marlo Mike," admitted he allegedly killed Boyd, then drove to Hatch, who paid him $2,800 for the job.

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