BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Jurors have acquitted rapper Torence "Lil Boosie" Hatch of first-degree murder in the 2009 slaying of a man gunned down in his home.
Jurors deliberated for an hour before returning the verdict Friday.
Before the verdict was read, District Judge Mike Erwin warned those in the courtroom not to make any emotional outbursts. Still, many quietly sobbed after the verdict was announced. Hatch, who stood quietly, bowed his head and pumped his fist when he heard the decision from the 12-person jury.
Prosecutors contended that Hatch hired Michael "Marlo Mike" Louding to kill 35-year-old Terry Boyd, who was shot to death through a window while he was inside his home in 2009.
The 29-year-old Hatch is already serving an 8-year prison term on separate drug charges and is being held in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola.
A first-degree murder conviction would have meant a life sentence for Hatch. Prosecutors were not seeking the death penalty in the case.
At 2:30 p.m. Friday, state District Judge Mike Erwin turned over the case to the jury after giving them instructions and following closing statements by the defense and prosecution.