Grisly Forensics in Rap Murder-for-Hire Case
MANHATTAN (CN) - An associate of rapper 50 Cent died when one of the five bullets fired from behind lodged into his heart, a medical examiner testified Thursday in a case that could spell a second life sentence for a former music executive.
James "Jimmy the Henchman" Rosemond, who is already is serving life after an unrelated 2012 federal trial in Brooklyn, faces a new jury weighing whether he paid goons drugs and cash to kill Lowell Fletcher, affiliated with 50 Cent's crew G-Unit.
Rosemond, a former hip-hop manager, allegedly orchestrated the hit as payback because a G-Unit member had slapped Rosemond's 14-year-old son, the New York Daily News reported.
As Rosemond appeals his Brooklyn convictions, the top charge on the outstanding indictment in Manhattan carries a potential life sentence, along with heavy jail time for other gun and narcotics-conspiracy and -possession counts.
With the second week of trial drawing to a close, testimony turned gruesome Thursday as a medical examiner and a police detective told the jury about what they learned from the five bullets fired into Fletcher from behind.
Monica Smiddy, a Bronx forensic pathologist working for the Office of the Medical Examiner, led the jury through a poster of frontal and rear-view renderings of the human body. She etched circles marking three bullet wounds to Fletcher's back, one below his left shoulder and another above his left elbow. All five entrance wounds were marked on the rear-view figure.
The fatal shot entered into Fletcher's ribcage, penetrated his lungs and aorta, and then lodged into his heart, Smiddy said.
Smiddy opened an envelope containing the bullets and showed them to jurors.
Fletcher was pronounced dead at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital on Sept. 27, 2009, she said.
Reading from a record itemizing the victim's clothing, Smiddy said that Fletcher's jeans and white T-shirt arrived "blood-soaked," and that his clothing was cut during attempted resuscitation.
Earlier that day, New York City police detective Jonathan Fox told the jury that investigators had recovered seven cartridge casings from the scene, and that a microscope study of the casings show that they were fired from the same gun.
Rosemond's lawyer Bruce Maffeo pressed Fox on that conclusion because he said some of the casings were in "pretty rough shape."
Fox acknowledged that two were "deformed" so badly that he could not reach a definitive conclusion about them.
U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon had opened the day's proceedings by asking the parties about an unspecified song by the rap group The Game, which was set to be entered into evidence.
"I don't find the genre particularly appealing to my taste," McMahon said, referring to rap music.
This is not the first time McMahon's aesthetic tastes have appeared on the court record. In doubling the recommended sentence for an art fraudster over two years ago, McMahon had had commented that the swindled piece in question was a work from one of her favorite artists, French landscape painter Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot.
"My favorite painting in the world is by Corot," McMahon had said. "It hangs at The Frick."
On Thursday, McMahon appeared concerned that rap music "quite often [involves] a little bit of profanity."
Defense attorney Maffeo replied, "This will be no exception."