BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Baton Rouge rapper Lil Boosie, whose real name is Torence Hatch, has been found not guilty of murder. The jury deliberated for about an hour.
Supporters cheered outside the 19th Judicial Courthouse in Baton Rouge once the verdict was announced. Hatch and his defense team hugged and began crying once the verdict was read.
"All I can do is give the glory to God because I knew he was never guilty," said Connie Hatch, the rapper's mother. "He's crying and he knew from the beginning he was never guilty."
"This man has been innocent," said defense attorney Jason Williams. "He's been innocent this whole time. Fans across the whole world have been praying for this. And, I thank God that justice was swift. I thank God that the truth came out."
"He's got another chance," one woman said. "The truth came out. And, I thank God for that."
"I feel great right now, not guilty verdict," one man said. "I feel lovely."
"If it don't fit, you must acquit," another man added.
Hatch was taken to the West Baton Rouge Parish Prison, where he has been held since the start of the trial.
Prosecutors said Hatch hired Michael Louding, also known as "Marlo Mike," to kill Terry Boyd. The 35-year-old was shot to death through a window while inside his home in 2009.
Hatch is currently serving an 8-year prison term on drug charges and is being held in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola.
In its closing, the prosecution said the evidence speaks for itself. Prosecutor Dana Cummings said Louding admitted on interrogation tape that Hatch gave him $2,800 in $20s after the murder. She said Carvis "Donkey" Webb and Hatch worked on Louding to get him to tell the "truth." According to Cummings, during phone calls to Louding, Webb told him, "Follow my lead and you coming home Marlo."
She also told the jury Hatch wrote in a letter to his mother that he might have said some things that incriminate him. Cummings said the lyrics in Hatch's songs again prove his intent. She said in the phrase "Yo Marlo" he even calls out his hit man. "That's billboard strong," Cummings said.
Hatch's lawyer said detectives called Louding the "ace in the hole." Attorney Jason Williams pointed out that's a poker saying. He said poker is a game of deceit. He added the detective testified he's skilled at deceit and that's what this case is about. He told the jury to notice investigators said they preserved computers with lyrics on them for jurors to see, but police didn't preserve 10 hours of interrogation tape for jurors to see.
"This case not about Boosie, but who's being tried first?" Williams asked. "Not the man who says he killed six people."
He went on to state there is no proof Hatch had beef with Terry Boyd. He said the task force that was created needs a big arrest to keep going and then asked, "What's bigger than a rapper going down for murder?" He told the jury no one followed up on the lead Terry Boyd's mother gave, until last year. By that time, the man she told them to talk to was dead. Officers also said they never read the Terry Boyd file, but they were investigating.
Boyd had 15 old scars on his body from bullet wounds. An old bullet was found in him. Williams posed the question, "Was someone coming back to finish what they started?" He said this all started over a letter Lee Lucas supposedly sent telling Hatch that, "Boyd was getting out of prison and he said he's going to 'jack and slap you.'"
"Where is that letter? Why didn't Lee Lucas testify?" the attorney asked.
He also stated lots of lyrics were played, but prosecutors didn't play the one that said f--- Hillar Moore. "Why?" he asked.
Prosecutors were given a chance to speak to the jury one last time and finished. The judge then gave jurors instructions and they were sent to deliberate the case.
Defense attorneys for Hatch rested their case Thursday afternoon without calling any witnesses.
Attorney Jason Williams told jurors Thursday the defense was resting its case based on the fact the burden of proof lies with the state and based on the testimony of the state's witnesses.
The prosecution had rested its case around 2:44 p.m. after six days of testimony from 27 witnesses.