Rapper begs for freedom, alleges witness coercion

Rapper begs for freedom, alleges witness coercion

COVINGTON, LA (WVUE) - Family members of a one-time aspiring hip-hop artist hope new allegations of witness coercion will convince the St. Tammany Parish district attorney's office to revisit the rappers 2000 murder conviction.

McKinley Phipps Jr., is serving the 15th year of a 30 year sentence for killing 19-year old Barron Victor at a Slidell nightclub.

Family members point to a Huffington Post report that alleges witnesses were coerced to finger Phipps as the triggerman.

The report claims witnesses were told they would end up in jail if they didn't tell jurors they saw Phipps kill Victor.

"There's a lot of, I want to say witnesses corruption and coercion by some of the police officers here in this parish so with that in mind all we want is the truth to come out about my sons case, that's all we wanted was the truth," Sheila Phipps, Phipps' mother, said.

Family members claim one man even confessed to the murder, but was dismissed by investigators.

The report claims the witnesses were too scared to come forward while former District Attorney Walter Reed was in office.

Because Phipps has exhausted his appeals, it would be incumbent on the new DA Warren Montgomery to reopen the case.

He said in a statement: "Certainly no one wants to see an innocent person remain in jail. But there is a procedure for correcting injustices for those who feel they have been treated unfairly. That procedure is to petition the court with evidence. At that time, I will fulfill my responsibility to respond to the allegations."

Phipps' sister, Tiffany Phipps Cave, read a statement from the rapper he wrote in prison:

"Through it all I have never lost faith that the truth would someday be brought to light I did not kill Barron Victor Jr. And it is my hope that the evidence brought forth is enough to support that claim."

The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office declined to comment, deferring to the District Attorney.

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