August 10th, 2005 | By Administrator
A federal jury convicted rapper Tab ?Turk??? Virgil of three felony charges yesterday (August 9). Virgil was convicted of being a felon with a handgun, a fugitive with a handgun and a drug addict with a handgun.
The charges stem from a shootout during a January 2004 drug raid of an apartment. SWAT team member Deputy Chris Harris was shot in the jaw, hip arm and calf.
During the trial, Deputy Harris said he opened a double-door closed in the apartment and saw a bright muzzle flash. He said he immediately felt the bullets? impact.
Harris said he traded fire with someone in the closet and that he could see bullets flying through the door and into the ceiling of the apartment.
Afterwards, police recovered a 9mm in the closet with six shells nearby. Ballistics evidence also stated the bullet that struck the officer in the jaw came from the 9mm.
While tests on Virgil?s hands came back inconclusive, prosecutors said the rapper had gunfire residue on his shorts.
Virgil?s attorney Javier Bailey told the jury that the rapper never fired a weapon. He said that officers botched the investigation.
Bailey argued that once police threw a flash-bang grenade into the apartment, no one would have been capable of retrieving a weapon.
Six officers present testified that they never saw Virgil with a gun in his hand and none of them saw him in the closet either.
The leader of the SWAT team, Sgt. Perry McEwen, said that Virgil and his girlfriend were ordered to crawl out of the bedroom after the shooting.
McEwen testified under oath that Virgil stated: “I thought we were being robbed.”
Attorneys made their final arguments yesterday morning and the jury took just five hours to convict the chart-topping rapper, who made his mark as a member of Cash Money Records? hit group, The Hot Boys.
The group featured fellow New Orleans rappers Juvenile, B.G. and Lil? Wayne.
Virgil?s attorney expressed disappointment at the time the jury spent deliberating and has vowed to appeal.
Virgil faces between five and 10 years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced October 26.
The rapper is still facing an attempted-murder trial stemming from the shooting, but a trial date has not been set.