Barry “Cassidy” Reese was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault Tuesday and was sentenced to 11 1/2 to 23 months in prison.
The rapper could possibly be out of jail in a few months because of time already served in prison. The rapper has been incarcerated since June.
At the non-jury trial, Common Pleas Judge Jane Cutler Greenspan said that rapper was negligent in providing guns to assailants that eventually killed Desmond Hawkins, a 22-year-old Philadelphia man.
"You could be a leader in the community," Greenspan said according to the Associated Press. "All those guns – that’s why Desmond is gone now, because of all those guns."
In court, the rapper expressed remorse for the crime. "It’s a tragic situation for me too. I didn’t set up for this to happen. Desmond Hawkins was my friend … one of my closest friends,” he told the judge.
The murder trial of Philadelphia rapper Cassidy started on Monday Jan. 24, were the rapper was accused of first-degree murder in relation to an April 2005 slaying.
In June, Cassidy was arrested and charged with the murder of Hawkins. Cassidy surrendered to authorities in June of 2005, a week before the release of his sophomore album, I’ma Hustla.
Prosecutors claimed the rapper planned the murder by placing four of his associates in positions to attack his rivals.
His accusers concur Cassidy was more than prepared – as they said they discovered almost 80 unspent cartridges of various calibers in his home, near the shooting. Prosecutors claimed that Roberto Johnson, an associate of Hawkins, fought with one of Cassidy’s associates earlier in the day in front of a Rite-Aid drug store.
Seeking retaliation for the altercation earlier in the day, Johnson testified the he, along with Hawkins, Daniel Irvin, 22, and 21-year-old Bobby Hoyle went to Cassidy’s home.
Johnson testified he was not in the van because he was urinating in a nearby back yard. He heard the gunshots and ducked behind a car.
Ballistic evidence recovered at the scene found that 30 shots were fired at the van from an area near Cassidy’s home, while 12 shots came from inside the van.
Johnson testified that he was unarmed and the he had seen only one gun in the van. He said he sold the weapon after the shooting.
Responding to the allegations, Cassidy’s lawyer Fortunato Perri. Jr. suggested Johnson may have fired first as he was outside the van.
In July of 2005, prosecution witness Joseph Newkirk recanted his statements to police that he witnessed Cassidy firing a gun. In court on Monday, Newkirk alleged police detectives told him what to say.
In August, Cassidy’s charge was reduced to a third-degree murder charge, but the decision was appealed to a higher court and the first-degree murder charge was reinstated.