BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Attorneys made opening statements in the murder trial of Baton Rouge rapper Lil Boosie, whose real name is Torence Hatch, Saturday. Three witnesses took the stand.
Prosecutors called Ben Hawkins to the stand. Victim Terry Boyd was killed at his house. He said Boyd was living there at the time.
Dr. Michael White, a neighbor, who heard the shots testified as well. He said he saw a man in a white t-shirt running along the fence line after the shooting. He added he then saw that same man and another men running toward nearby railroad tracks.
Cpl. Kevin Adcock with the Baton Rouge Police Department also took the stand. He was snapped dozens of crime scene photos after the murder. Family members left the courtroom in hysterics when some of those photos were shown.
Testimony is expected to resume Sunday beginning at 1 p.m.
The day started with opening statements from both sides. The prosecution addressed the jury first.
"'Marlo Mike' is the key to whole situation," prosecutor Dana Cummings told the jury. "He was the hitman."
She told jurors they will hear phone conversations where Hatch is freaking out because he doesn't know what 'Marlo Mike,' whose real name is Michael Louding, told police. Cummings told the jury several people have told Louding to lie on the stand. She added she expects him to do that.
Cummings said computers will play a role in the trial for the October 21, 2009 homicide. A computer was seized from Hatch's studio. She said an hour and a half after Boyd was killed Hatch was recording the lyrics to "187," which she said is a song about murder. She said in that song Hatch says "Yo Marlo" and hints that somebody has to die. Seven minutes after the murder, she said Hatch began recording the lyrics to "Body Bag." The lyrics include the phrase "rock a bye baby," which she said indicates someone is dead. She added those lyrics are admission.
She also gave an explanation of tattoos by those accused of involvement in the murder. She said Louding has a tattoo on his stomach of an AK-47 with the statement, "Yo Boosie Who's Next?" The prosecutor said Louding had the tattoo done on November 4, 2009, two weeks after Boyd was killed. Adriene Pittman, who's been called the getaway driver, has a tattoo of the bible on his back and includes the words "Who's Next?" And, Hatch has a tattoo of an AK-47 with "Boss Man" written above it.
Hatch's defense attorneys told jurors they will learn a lot of people had ill will toward the victim, Terry Boyd, but not their client. They said in fact, Hatch has a child with Boyd's sister. The defense added the jury will learn Hatch is stupid for allowing too many people to be around him because he didn't want people thinking celebrity changed him.
The defense attorneys also said 'Marlo Mike,' whose real name is Michael Louding, was one of the people who came over, but Hatch didn't know him. They said the testimony will show Louding had his own reasons for killing and that the suspected killer says he heard voices telling him to hurt people.
Hatch's defense team said what the jury will learn is a man named Mike Judson was there when Boyd was killed. They claimed Boyd robbed Judson of drugs and money in jail, setting up a motive for Boyd being killed. They said the district attorney's office was more interested in going after a high-profile rapper.
Defense attorney Jason Williams said the lyrics to the songs brought up by Cummings were re-sampled lyrics Hatch had in songs that were already released. He also told jurors the AK-47 is a tribute to people the group knew and the "Who's Next" meant who else they know would end up dead. Williams also told the jury to note that 9mm shell casings, not AK-47 casings were found at the murder scene.
Proceedings were scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. in Judge Mike Erwin's courtroom. However, court was delayed to give the jurors a chance to finish eating.
The courtroom was packed for the start of the trial.
One of Hatch's attorneys addressed the group of supporters, friends and family in the courtroom before opening statements began. He advised them not to talk to Hatch or cheer because the jury would be grading him based on his friends as well.
A 12-member jury was sworn in and sequestered Friday in the murder-for-hire trial.
Prosecutors say Hatch hired and paid Louding to kill Boyd in October 2009.
Hatch is facing life in prison for first-degree murder.
The trial is expected to last about a week.