He didn't beat the rap.
A federal jury convicted aspiring hip hop artist Ronald (Ra Diggs) Herron of racketeering, drug trafficking and the murders of three rivals after only one day of deliberations in Brooklyn Federal Court.
Herron remained stoic as the jury foreman pronounced him guilty of all 21 counts in the indictment. He faces a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole when he is sentenced on Oct. 1 by Judge Nicholas Garaufis.
The sister of murder victim Victor Zapata and several supporters of Herron wept quietly in the courtroom.
Prosecutors took the unusual step of using Herron’s rap lyrics and YouTube videos as evidence against him in the trial — he boasted of beating a murder case, retaliating against drug rivals and being a high-ranking member of the Bloods gang.
Herron’s defense team called an expert on rap music, Lehigh University professor James Peterson, to argue that the lyrics are written forms of art and should not be interpreted literally.
In a risky move, Herron took the witness stand in his own defense and insisted that the violent content of his lyrics was “exaggeration” and “hyperbole.”
Federal prosecutors, the FBI and the NYPD teamed up to take down Herron’s drug crew, which had been terrorizing the Gowanus Houses.
"Ronald Herron and his gang of thugs preyed on their community while glorifying their criminal lifestyle," said Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch.
"He styled himself a rap artist, but the jury’s verdict makes clear who Herron really is, a drug dealer and murderer who sought power through fear and intimidation.”
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