Shooter Acquitted in Dolla’s Murder Case
Aubrey Louis Berry, the man who was accused of killing up-and-coming Atlanta rapper Dolla, was acquitted in a Los Angeles court on Friday, May 21.
After two days of deliberation, the jury found Berry, 24, not guilty for his role in the shooting death of Dolla, born Roderick Anthony Burton II, near the valet section of Los Angeles' Beverly Center mall last May.
Berry was apprehended at the scene of the crime, in broad daylight, in possession of the murder weapon, which he had a permit to carry in Atlanta, but not Los Angeles. He admitted to shooting the rapper three times in the back, but claimed self-defense.
While the prosecution painted a cold-blooded killer image of Berry, saying the first-degree murder was an act of vengence, Berry's defense had a much different story. The college-educated and music industry employed Berry said he had "never killed anything" growing up, while Dolla's own music and past worked against him displaying violent lyrics.
"If somebody has a reasonable perception that he is in danger of bodily injury or death, he has a right to defend himself," Berry's attorney said. "He felt his life was in danger because of the previous altercation and what this guy [Dolla] is reputed to be, which is [a member of] the Crips."
The altercation occurred just one week after an alleged incident between Dolla and Berry in an Atlanta nightclub, during which Berry claims to have been threatened by the rapper. Subsequent research into Dolla's violent lyrics led Berry to believe that his life was further in danger.
"Obviously, what happened on May 18, 2009, was a horrible tragedy for everyone," said Superior Court Judge Michael E. Pastor. "The jurors have spoken."
The trial was an emotional one, as Dolla's mother had to be escorted from the courtroom, sobbing "Oh, please, somebody help me."
Dolla was a talented artist, signed to Akon's Konvict Muzik. He was 21 years old at the time of his death.