A trial for the May 2009 murder of Atlanta rapper Dolla -- real name Roderick Anthony Burton II -- began in Los Angeles earlier this week. The Konvict Muzik signee had earned himself a reputation as Akon's protege, before he was suddenly gunned down in a upscale Los Angeles mall.

The 21-year-old slain rapper was struck by four bullets when defendant Aubrey Louis Berry opened fire on him in the valet area of the Beverly Center. Deputy District Attorney Robert Grace told jurors that after shooting Burton, Berry ordered the valet to retrieve his car, and drove around and watched as his victim lay dying.

Although it has been confirmed that Berry fired eight shots at the rapper and his entourage, Berry has plead not guilty to one count of murder and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon. His lawyer, Howard Price, told the court that Berry was acting in self-defense at the time. The two men were involved in an altercation at a strip club in their hometown, Atlanta, a couple of weeks before the shooting, which Berry says caused him to fear violence from the rapper.

Berry's lawyer told the court that he planned to use Burton's rap lyrics to prove that he had "cultivated a violent image," but the judge denied Price's request to notify jurors that Burton had been arrested for carrying a concealed weapon in 2008, saying that it didn't demonstrate a "character trait for violence."

The trial proceedings are expected to take at least a week. At the time of his death, Burton had already released two songs with Akon, while completing work on his debut album.

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