For nearly fourteen years, New Orleans rapper C-Murder has been trying to get his murder conviction overturned. C-Murder has always insisted he was an innocent man and did not commit the crimes he had been accused of committing. Now, according to reports, the conviction has been upheld.
A federal judge has upheld C-Murder’s murder conviction despite recantations by two key witnesses who now claim their testimony implicating the rapper was false.
The Nov. 13 ruling by U.S. District Judge Sarah S. Vance denies a habeas petition by C-Murder’s attorneys, which sought to overturn his 2009 conviction of murdering 16-year-old Steve Thomas.
Thomas was shot and killed at the Platinum Club in New Orleans on the early morning of Jan. 12, 2002.
Vance’s ruling upholds a state court decision, which found that two witnesses’ attempts to recant their testimony were “suspect and not reliable,” given their multiple prior identifications as C-Murder as the shooter.
In her 47-page decision, Vance wrote C-Murder’s had the legal burden to “put forth clear and convincing evidence of error in the state courts’ findings of fact, which he has failed to do.”
C-Murder was tried twice, convicted in 2009, and sentenced to life in prison. Since his conviction, he has enjoyed public support from many notable celebrities, including Kim Kardashian, who Tweeted in August that she was joining the legal efforts to free him from prison.
Kardashian’s public statement cited the witnesses’ changed statements and said she believes he is innocent.
Thomas, an aspiring rapper who had posters of C-Murder and Master P in his room, was shot and killed around 1 a.m. inside the club. A security guard named Darnell Jordan would later testify he saw 15-20 people assaulting Thomas and that he saw a flash from C-Murder’s hand, presumably from a gunshot.
A second witness, Kenneth Jordan, testified that celebrities were allowed to go around metal detectors at the club and identified C-Murder as the shooter from a photo lineup.
Both men’s testimonies were consistent until 2018 when they signed affidavits recanting their identifications and accusing police investigators of pressuring them.
In 2019, a Jefferson Parish judge ruled against C-Murder and found the recantations were not credible.
C-Murder is appealing Vance’s decision to a higher federal court.