A federal jury convicted
rapper Tab “Turk” Virgil of three felony charges yesterday (August
9). Virgil was convicted of being a felon with a handgun, a fugitive with a handgun
and a drug addict with a handgun.
The charges stem
from a shootout during a January 2004 drug raid of an apartment. SWAT team member
Deputy Chris Harris was shot in the jaw, hip arm and calf.
During the trial,
Deputy Harris said he opened a double-door closed in the apartment and saw a
bright muzzle flash. He said he immediately felt the bullets’ impact.
Harris said he
traded fire with someone in the closet and that he could see bullets flying
through the door and into the ceiling of the apartment.
recovered a 9mm in the closet with six shells nearby. Ballistics evidence also
stated the bullet that struck the officer in the jaw came from the 9mm.
While tests on
Virgil’s hands came back inconclusive, prosecutors said the rapper had
gunfire residue on his shorts.
attorney Javier Bailey told the jury that the rapper never fired a weapon. He
said that officers botched the investigation.
Bailey argued that
once police threw a flash-bang grenade into the apartment, no one would have
been capable of retrieving a weapon.
Six officers present
testified that they never saw Virgil with a gun in his hand and none of them
saw him in the closet either.
The leader of the
SWAT team, Sgt. Perry McEwen, said that Virgil and his girlfriend were ordered
to crawl out of the bedroom after the shooting.
under oath that Virgil stated: "I thought we were being robbed."
their final arguments yesterday morning and the jury took just five hours to
convict the chart-topping rapper, who made his mark as a member of Cash Money
Records’ hit group, The Hot Boys.
The group featured
fellow New Orleans rappers Juvenile, B.G. and Lil’ Wayne.
attorney expressed disappointment at the time the jury spent deliberating and
has vowed to appeal.
Virgil faces between
five and 10 years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced October 26.
The rapper is still
facing an attempted-murder trial stemming from the shooting, but a trial date
has not been set.