Cassidy Re-Charged With First Degree Murder, Defense Says Rapper Is Innocent

A first degree murder

charge has been reinstated against Philadelphia, Pennsylvania rapper Cassidy.

A judge overturned an earlier, lower court’s decision

that Cassidy could only be tried for no more than third-degree murder.

Prosecutors accuse the rapper of masterminding a shooting behind

his row home in the Cedarbrook section of Philadelphia.

Cassidy and Desmond Hawkins, 22, were involved in a dispute

at a Rite Aid drug store earlier in the day on April 15, 2005.

When the men showed up at Cassidy’s house to “make

peace,” prosecutors claim Cassidy directed them to the back, where the

men where ambushed.

Hawkins was fatally wounded, while Daniel Irvin, 22, and Bobby

Hoyle, 21, suffered serious injuries, but have since recovered.

The rapper surrendered the authorities in the middle of June,

almost a week before the June 28 release of his sophomore effort, I'm a


Hoyle has testified that he lied to detectives when he claimed

to have seen Cassidy firing a weapon. He also testified detectives coached him

through his statement.

Hoyle told authorities he and the other two men were unarmed

at the time of the shooting, but recently revealed ballistics evidence revealed

that at least 12 shots came from inside of the van.

The evidence also revealed four guns were fired into the van

from four other points, but Cassidy is the only person charged in the case so


The judge that delivered the ruling stated that a trial judge

or a jury must rule what the appropriate degree of murder would be in the case.

Cassidy’s defense is looking to capitalize on the weakness

of the evidence and stated he was ready to go to trial immediately.

"Everyone should be afforded a fair opportunity for a speedy

trial, especially when there's overwhelming evidence of innocence, as there

is in this case," Cassidy’s Lawyer Fortunato Perri said.

Cassidy faces the

death penalty in the most extreme scenario and could be sentenced to at least

20 years in prison.