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
Ten jurors were selected yesterday and two more will be added
today. Opening statements in the trial are scheduled to begin tomorrow (Sept
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
"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
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
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.