The Nevada Supreme Court upheld the first-degree murder conviction of rapper Deyundrea “Khali” Holmes, claiming that his rap lyrics used against him in the case were admissable evidence.
Holmes appealed his original conviction on the grounds that his lyrics — which seemed to talk about the robbery and murder in his trial — were “cliched” and not specific to the case. The appeal also claimed that the lyrics could cause the jury to become prejudiced against him, according to the Raw Story.
In 2003, Holmes and a man named Max Reed allegedly murdered drug dealer Kevin Nelson. The two told Nelson to come to the parking lot of a recording studio, where they planned to steal drugs from him.
Holmes and Reed attacked Nelson in the lot wearing ski masks, yanked off a gold chain he was wearing and turned his pockets inside out before shooting him.
Five years later, Holmes was tied to the case when his DNA was found to match that of a cigarette butt at the crime scene.
During his time waiting for extradition to Nevada, Holmes wrote 18 songs. In one of the songs, called “Drug Deala,” he talks about robbing someone in a parking lot.
“I catching slipping at the club and jack you for your necklace...parking lot pimping. Man I’m parking lot jacking,” Holmes says in his song. “Running through your pockets with uh ski mask on straight laughing.”
The lyrics were used as evidence against him in his trial, despite protests from the defendant’s side that the lyrics were not specific enough to the case and that they could just reference Holmes’s normal criminal behavior, causing jury members to develop a bias against him.
But Nevada Supreme Court justices saw the lyrics as relevant to the case because they thought they were specific enough to the crime in question, even if lyrics are not the most reliable source.
“Admitting gangsta rap carries the risk of it being misunderstood or misused as criminal propensity or ‘bad act’ evidence (because the) defendant-authored rap lyrics may employ metaphor, exaggeration, and other artistic devices,” the justices claimed.
Source: The Raw Story