BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The defense rested its case in the murder trial of Baton Rouge rapper Lil Boosie Thursday without calling any witnesses. Closing arguments in the case are set to get underway Friday morning.
After six days of testimony, the prosecution rested its case at 2:44 p.m. Thursday after calling 27 witnesses to the stand. The defense asked for a short break after the prosecution rested, then came back and announced they, too, would rest their case.
Jason Williams represents Lil Boosie, whose real name is Torence Hatch. Williams told jurors the defense was resting its case based on the fact that the burden of proof lies with the state and based on the testimony of the state's witnesses.
The 29-year-old rapper faces a first-degree murder charge. Prosecutors contend Hatch hired Michael "Marlo Mike" Louding to kill 35-year-old Terry Boyd, who was shot to death through a window while inside his home in 2009.
If convicted, Hatch faces life in prison.
Hatch is currently serving an eight-year prison term on drug charges and is being held in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola.
The last witness for the prosecution was Rochelle Wagner, Terry Boyd's sister, who is also the mother of Lil Boosie's child. She testified that she did not know anything about a murder. She said when it came to Terry Boyd and Lil Boosie, the two were not friendly but were not enemies either.
The prosecution asked if there was any reason Terry Boyd would want to "jack and slap" Boosie, and Wagner said there was no reason that she knew of.
Testimony with a man nicknamed "Donkey" finished Thursday morning. Carvis "Donkey" Webb is Boosie's first cousin. Prosecutors say Louding reached out to Webb for advice after his 2009 arrest.
Webb says he was in Atlanta at the time of the Terry Boyd murder, but Michael Louding reached out to him after he was arrested because he knows how the judicial system works. Webb was convicted of murder at age 16, but appealed the decision at the age of 20 and the charge was overturned.
The prosecution has played taped recordings they say indicate Webb encouraged Louding to tell attorneys that police beat and threatened him.
Prosecutors say Boosie also sent Louding a letter telling him to "listen to Donkey, Donkey knows the deal." Webb says that 'knowing the deal' only means he knows how things work in jail.
Carvis "Donkey" Webb also testified that many people in Baton Rouge had problems with Terry Boyd. He says he knows Boyd was shot 12 to 14 times at a nightclub after he robbed someone. He testified that Boosie and Boyd are not in the "same lanes." He said "Boosie is a rapper and Terry Boyd is a hardcore gangsta."
Webb also testified that a detective from Baton Rouge came to Atlanta and pulled him over because there were threats made on District Attorney Hillar Moore's life.
Moore also testified Thursday. Moore says on May 14, 2010 he was called to the Violent Crimes Unit. The district attorney says he and then Baton Rouge Police Chief Jeff Leduff went to the viewing area and listened to Louding being interviewed for about 10 to 15 minutes. Moore says he did not speak to Louding until after the interrogation was over.
Moore said Louding signed a cooperation agreement with the District Attorney's office on June 2, but there was never any discussion of how many years Louding would serve; just something less than life, which Moore agreed could be one day to 100 years. Moore says Louding cooperated after the contract was signed.
Part of that agreement says Louding must give complete and truthful testimony in each case he had knowledge of, but Moore decides what is truthful.
During testimony Thursday, the defense asked Moore, "so you decide what is truthful?" Moore replied "yes". "And this jury decides what the truth is?," a defense lawyer then asked Moore. "Yes," Moore replied. "Thank God for that," the defense lawyer replied.
Defense attorney Jason Williams asked Moore to tell jurors why the record button was not hit during Louding's police interrogation. Williams said if the District Attorney and police chief heard a 17-year-old admitting to six murders, certainly they should have wanted that recorded. Moore says that it is up to detectives to decide when they press the record button. "I wish they would have," Moore said.