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Rapper Cassidy gets prison term

January 26, 2006|From Associated Press

Philadelphia — BABY-FACED rapper Cassidy has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault in what prosecutors called the planned ambush of a man who had argued with the musician's friends.

The 23-year-old Cassidy (real name: Barry Reese) was grossly negligent for supplying the guns that killed Desmond Hawkins and wounded two of his companions, Common Pleas Judge Jane Cutler Greenspan said at the end of the two-day non-jury trial Tuesday.

Greenspan sentenced Cassidy to 11 1/2 to 23 months in prison. He has been in custody since his arrest in June, meaning he could be out of jail within a few months.

Cassidy's debut CD, "Split Personality," peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard album chart and featured the Top 10 single "Hotel." Its follow-up album, "I'm a Hustla," was released in June.

"You could be a leader in the community," Greenspan said. "All those guns -- that's why Desmond is gone now, because of all those guns."

Police said that four guns, including an assault rifle, were involved in the April 15 ambush in an alley behind Cassidy's house. Cassidy and his associates had stashed the guns around the alley in expectation of a shootout, prosecutors said.

Witnesses testified that Hawkins, 22, had gone to Cassidy's home to act as a peacemaker after Hawkins and his friends got in an argument with Cassidy and his friends.

"It's a tragic situation for me too," Cassidy told the judge. "I didn't set up for this to happen. Desmond Hawkins was my friend ... one of my closest friends."

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