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Rapper Must Stand Trial in Murder Case, Judge Rules

January 14, 1995|FRANK B. WILLIAMS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

After an acrimonious two-hour hearing, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled Friday that there is sufficient evidence to support murder conspiracy charges against rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg and two friends.

A lawyer for Snoop Doggy Dogg, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, argued that the three defendants did not conspire to kill Philip Woldermarian in August, 1993. Instead, he said, Broadus' bodyguard shot Woldermarian in a Westside park after he reached for a gun in the waistband of his pants.

But Deputy Dist. Atty. Edward Nison argued that the men had passed by Woldermarian in a Jeep driven by Broadus and then returned looking for him, at which point a confrontation unfolded and McKinley Lee opened fire.

Superior Court Judge Paul G. Flynn sided with the prosecution, saying there was "sufficient evidence to let the conspiracy charge stand." He set a trial date for April 19.

The highly publicized case has been plagued by numerous delays, primarily because co-defendant Shawn Abram's attorney, Johnnie L. Cochran, has been consumed with another high-profile client--O.J. Simpson.

On Friday, Cochran hustled between the Broadus and Simpson hearings, which are both taking place on the ninth floor of the Criminal Courts Building in Downtown Los Angeles. The judge took note of Cochran's schedule, saying: "I want to get Mr. Cochran out of here because he is involved in an international case down the hall."

During the hearing in Flynn's courtroom, Broadus wore a brown sweat suit and sported four platted braids. For the most part, he sat silently, occasionally resting his head on a table.

The Woldermarian family, who immigrated to the United States from Eritrea in 1979, sat in the front row as three defense lawyers and prosecutor Nison engaged in the sometimes heated debate.

Along with filing a wrongful death lawsuit for $25 million against Broadus and media giant Time Warner, the Woldermarian family has maintained that their son was an innocent victim--not the gun-waving gang member the defense has portrayed him to be.

Woldermarian allegedly had an argument with Broadus an hour before the shooting. Broadus' attorney, David Kenner, also said that Woldermarian had been "stalking" the rap star, prompting him to contact the Long Beach Police Department. Officers there told Broadus to get a bodyguard.

"We are just taking this thing day to day," Broadus said outside the courthouse. "I will continue to make good music and keep my faith in God."

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