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.