Jury Selection Starts In Beanie Sigel Attempted-Murder Retrial

Jury selection started

yesterday (Sept. 19) in the attempted murder re-trial of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

rapper Beanie Sigel, in relation to a 2003 shooting in front of a local bar.

Sigel is accused

of shooting a man named Terrance Speller in front of the Pony Tail Bar in Philadelphia.

Sigel’s first trial for attempted murder ended in

a deadlock, after a jury could not reach a conclusion about Sigel’s guilt

or innocence.

Ten jurors were selected yesterday and two more will be added

today. Opening statements in the trial are scheduled to begin tomorrow (Sept

21).

Jurors in the case have been chosen in secret and the public

and press were barred from the courtroom, hoping to shield jurors from being

intimidated.

"Because of the nature of the case, some people are afraid,"

Common Please Court Judge Karen Shreeves-Johns told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

"It’s difficult as hell trying to get a jury with a well-known defendant.

People are intimidated…They just don’t want to be involved."

During the first trial, Speller testified that he and his girlfriend

received daily threats against their lives because of their cooperation with

authorities.

Speller described his version of the shooting during the first

trial. Speller testified that he and several associates had spoke to Sigel earlier

in the evening.

Later that night, Speller and an associate were walking down

the street when a woman overheard their conversation and mistakenly thought

they were referring to her.

According to Speller, the girl went home and told her mother,

who was dating Sigel. The superstar rapper allegedly confronted Speller later

in the evening on South 52nd Street and shot him twice in the foot and abdomen.

“I heard a screeching stop and I seen the truck and I

seen him getting out," Speller testified during the first trial. "He

started walking towards me…he raises his gun and starts firing."

Speller was taken to the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania

in critical condition and recovered from his wounds.

Sigel was arrested and held until September of 2003, when he

was released on $1,000,000 federal bond.

He was also ordered to put up $150,000 in cash, a house valued

at $400,000 and four other properties.

Sigel was later released to a treatment facility in Minnesota.

Jurors spent five days deliberating, but ended in deadlock.

During the trial, Speller admitted to changing his story several times when

speaking to authorities.

Speller first told police that he was shot by unknown men that

were seeking to rob him.

He later changed his story and accused Sigel of being the triggerman.

Speller maintained he lied to police because he was “scared” of

Sigel, due to the rapper’s reputation.

Sigel’s lawyer Fortunato Perri – who is also representing Philadelphia rapper Cassidy in his murder trial – told the jury the men changed their stories and

falsely accused Sigel to get money from the rapper, who has sold over 12 million

records.

Sigel entered prison in November of 2004 and was released after

serving most of a one year sentence for gun possession charges.

He was released on August 9 from a Federal Correctional Institution

in Fairton, New Jersey.

Sigel has pleaded

not guilty and is free on $150,000 bail. A gag order has been placed on lawyers,

preventing them from discussing the case publicly.

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