Jury selection started
today (August 1) in the weapons trial of Tab “Turk” Virgil, who is
currently incarcerated on attempted first-degree murder charges and weapons violations.
The charges stem from a January 26, 2004 shootout with Memphis,
Tennessee SWAT team members. Prosecutors say that Virgil injured officers as
they raided an apartment seeking a cache of heroin and
weapons. As they entered the apartment, gunfire erupted.
S.W.A.T. team officer Chris Harris was shot three times, in
the jaw, hip and leg and another officer was wounded by “friendly fire”
from another S.W.A.T. team member.
Virgil is charged with being a felon in possession of a handgun,
a fugitive in possession of a handgun and being a drug addict in possession
of a handgun.
The rapper also faces first degree murder charges in state court.
Virgil has maintained his innocence, saying that he was hiding in a closet as
the officers raided the apartment.
"We can never tell which way a jury is going to go"
Virgil’s attorney Javier Bailey told AllHipHop.com. "But I am confident
that the jury will take one look at the evidence and dismiss the charges against
Mr. Virgil. When it all comes down to it, I feel that the actions of the officers
and [the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation] in this case further add to the
tensions and distrust that are very present between the Hip-Hop community and
According to representatives for Virgil, gunshot residue found
on the rapper was returned as inconclusive. An analysis statement read: “These
results can not eliminate the possibility that the individual could have fired,
handled or was near a gun when it fired.”
Representatives say this is significant to Virgil’s defense
of hiding in the closet. A surprise witness that was allegedly hiding under
a bed during the shootout was found with no weapons, but yielded the same test
“I’ve never shot a police [officer], I’ve never owned a gun, I’ve never
seen a gun," Virgil told Memphis Tennessee’s Channel 3 News shortly after
the shooting. "I’m scared praying. I hear boom boom. I don’t hear any police
say ‘knock knock.’"
Virgil said officers called him out of the closet, but he was
reluctant because officers wanted to "beat" him.
"I never saw a search warrant," Virgil said. "I’ve
been having drug problems since I was 14. Off and on battling heroin. I never
fired a gun, never. I’ve never even seen a gun, never."
Virgil is being
held in lieu of $150,000 bond in Shelby County Jail.