Rap Battle Leads to Murder: Police

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    Two suburban Philadelphia men face life in prison without possibility of parole in a shooting death that police said followed a rap battle.

    The Delaware County Daily Times says jurors deliberated for a little more than three hours before convicting 27-year-old Rashan Bowman and 29-year-old Marcus Cogman of second-degree murder as well as robbery and criminal conspiracy in the December 2011 shooting death of 30-year-old Jason Rossiter.

    Bowman was also convicted of a firearms count Thursday night. Jurors acquitted the Chester pair of first-degree murder.

    The victim’s friend, Jemir Washington, testified that on Dec. 13 he and Rossiter went to an Upland borough house where an impromptu rap battle ensued between Rossiter and Bowman.

    Rossiter allegedly boasted that he was the best freestyle rapper around -- a form of off-the-cuff rapping using no written lyrics --  and called Bowman and enticed him to come over with the promise of a freestyle battle involving money, the paper reports.

    When Bowman and Cogmon showed up, Rossiter allegedly waved around a wad of cash that he was ready to bet on his skills, but his friend stepped in and shut down the battle, knowing Rossiter would lose, according to the Delaware County Times.

    After several more hours of drinking and smoking marijuana Washington told investigators Rossiter was saying “loony, crazy, funny stuff,” most of which didn’t rhyme or even make sense. He captured snippets of the battle on video using his cellphone, which was shown to the jury.

    Washington said the party broke up at around 10:15. He said he no longer wished to go to the studio and intended to drive back to Rossiter’s home in Collingdale. But Bowman and Cogmon followed the two other men to the car, where Rossiter allegedly extended his hand to the fellow rapper in an apparent attempt to make peace. Bowman allegedly refused the handshake, which Washington said Rossiter took as a sign of disrespect. “(Rossiter) said, ‘Then f— you,’” according to the paper.

    Cogmon then allegedly threw Rossiter up against the car and took his wallet. When Rossiter went to reach for it but Bowman pointed a gun in his face and allegedly fired one shot, striking Rossiter in the chest. He died several hours later from his wounds. Cogmon and Bowman were tracked down to a Motel 6 in Tinicum, where they were arrested two days later.

    The defendants are scheduled for sentencing June 28.

     


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