By Calvin Palmer
The man accused of fatally shooting rap artist Dolla pleaded not guilty today at a Los Angeles court to murder and two counts of assault.
Event promoter Aubrey Louis Berry, 23, of Snellville, Georgia, is accused of killing Roderick Anthony Burton II, known as Dolla, and shooting at two other people on Monday in the valet area of the Beverly Center, West Hollywood.
The charges were amended by the prosecution to include personally and intentionally discharging a firearm, which caused bodily injury and death.
Authorities allege that Berry, who had an altercation with Burton at an Atlanta strip club this month, fired at Burton, 21, and two people who were with him. Berry, who fled the scene hours after the shooting, was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport with the purported murder weapon tucked in this waistband.
Berry’s attorney, Howard R. Price, said his client did shoot the rapper but in self-defense.
“At worst it’s a manslaughter case, at best it’s a case of self-defense,” he told the Los Angeles Times earlier this week.
Price said Berry and Burton clashed at the Platinum 21 Adult Entertainment club in Atlanta. The pair then ran into each other Monday in the restroom of PF Chang’s China Bistro in the Beverly Center in what Price described as a chance encounter.
Price said the rapper threatened Berry, who decided to leave the restaurant. When Berry went to the mall’s valet area for his car, Burton and two other people followed him, the attorney said. Berry thought Burton was reaching for his waistband and fired his weapon.
“He perceived that his life was in danger,” Price said.
Now whether Berry fired in self-defense is for a jury to decide. But a chance encounter?
Two people previously involved in an altercation just happen to be in a city 2,000 miles from where they live on exactly the same day and then happen to be at the same shopping mall in the city of the size of Los Angeles.
Mr Price, sir, do not insult my intelligence or that of the general public. And you will have to do a lot better than that when presenting your case to a jury.
[Based on a report by the Los Angeles Times.]