(AllHipHop News) Five individuals including a former Russian mobster and a college basketball standout have been indicted for the murder of rapper Lil Phat (born Melvin Vernell III). After a bond hearing involving the five suspects was held, more information about the case has emerged.
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Prosecutors allege that Phat was killed in a murder-for-hire plot for stealing 10 pounds of marijuana from San Francisco State University point guard Decensae White and suspected Bang Get Money (BGM) gang affiliate Gary “El Dorado Red” Bradford.
The two are said to have hired fellow BGM member Deandre Washington and alleged getaway driver Maurice Conner for $10,000 to murder Phat.
Apparently, Washington and Conner were able to locate Phat at the hospital were he was killed by tracking his car’s GPS. The coordinates were allegedly given to them by Mani Chulpayev, an ex-member of the Russian mafia, who rented the vehicle to Phat.
[ALSO READ: Police Arrest Russian Mobster In Murder Of Lil Phat]
Chulpayev denies involvement with assassination. The owner of a luxury car rental service claims that he and White were business partners, and the killers got the tracking information on Phat’s rented vehicle from White.
Chulpayev was convicted on charges related to organized crime in the 1990’s. He later became an informant for the FBI.
According to Chulpayev’s original lawyer in the Lil Phat case, the Feds tried to keep local police investigating Phat’s murder from Chulpayev, but his client wanted to talk to authorities in order to clear his name. He even offered to take a lie detector test.
White is also denying involvement in Phat’s death. At the bond hearing his lawyer played a video of White’s highlights at San Francisco State University and presented a letter from White’s coach that called him a “model citizen.”
Bradford’s lawyers argued that he was not associated with a gang. He is just a rapper who only uses violent imagery in his music. They also said he suffers from autism.
White is currently out on bond. Chulpayev, Bradford, and Washington were denied bond and remain in the Fulton County jail. Maurice Conner is in jail in Alabama.