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Informant in Rap Star's Slaying Admits Hearsay

THE STATE

June 03, 2005|Chuck Philips | Times Staff Writer

The informant said he told Carson that Muhammad killed the rap star. This time, he said, he was not merely passing on gossip. He told Carson that in early 1998, weeks after his release from jail, he had gone to a stripper party in Compton where he saw Muhammad .

The informant said that Muhammad, during a conversation that lasted "a minute and a half or so," confessed to the murder.

The informant did not explain why he waited until 2003 to inform authorities of the alleged confession.

Muhammad says he did not attend such a party or make a confession.

Carson asked the informant him to wear a wire and try to get Muhammad to confess again. The FBI provided a white Mercedes-Benz and Muhammad's home address and agreed to pay the informant for his work.

One night in mid-December 2003, Muhammad and his wife heard a knock at the front door. Muhammad, 45, recounted the incident during a deposition in the Wallace family lawsuit.

He said he answered the door and saw a stranger on his porch. "I say, 'Can I help you?' He said, 'I need to talk to you.' And I asked, 'You need to talk to who?' He said, 'I need to talk to you.' "

Muhammad said he asked the man once again whom he was looking for. When the stranger did not say, he closed the door. Later, he called the police, who told him to call 911 if the man returned.

The FBI sent the informant back about 9 a.m. the next day. He knocked, but Muhammad did not open the door. Instead, he dialed 911.

Muhammad said he could hear the stranger outside, talking on a cellphone or possibly into his FBI wire.

"He said, 'I'm outside the door now,' " Muhammad testified.

Ten minutes later, police arrived and escorted the man from the neighborhood.

Muhammad described what happened next: "When he was leaving, he yelled, 'You're going to be sorry! I'm from the pen. We'll be back. You're dead.' "

Muhammad said he worried for months that the stranger might return. Eventually, he moved his family into a new home in a gated community.

The FBI declined to comment on the undercover operation. The bureau shut down its investigation in January.

A month later, Psycho Mike showed up for his deposition. Lawyers for the Wallace family drew him out about his work on the FBI probe. He said he had told Carson that Muhammad was the killer, that "bad police officers" were involved and that Knight was behind the whole thing.

Then, under questioning by Assistant City Atty. Don W. Vincent, he acknowledged that he had never met Muhammad before their alleged encounter at the stripper party.

Vincent then asked about the 1998 photo lineup.

"Had you met Amir prior to that time?" he asked.

"No," he said.

Then why had he picked out Muhammad's picture?

"Islam," he said, explaining that Muhammad's closely cropped hair suggested he was a Muslim.

The informant continued to assert that Knight, Mack and other crooked police officers were involved in the Wallace murder.

But he admitted that he had no evidence to support those claims.

"All hearsay," he said.

"You know, but it's hearsay. Is that right?" Vincent asked.

"That's right."

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