Rapper Remy Ma gets 8 years for shooting friend
By Edith Honan
Rap artist Remy Smith, better known by her stage name Remy Ma,
arrives at state court regarding shooting charges, in New York, March 18, 2008.
Grammy-nominated rapper Remy Ma was sentenced to eight years in prison on Tuesday for shooting and wounding an acquaintance after discovering money was missing from her purse after a night out in Manhattan.
In sentencing the rapper, criminal court judge Rena Uviller said Remy Ma, whose real name is Remy Smith, was "an extremely angry young woman whose anger is completely out of control."
In March, a New York jury found Smith, nominated for a 2004 Grammy for her part in Terror Squad's song "Lean Back," guilty of assault, weapons possession and attempted coercion.
Smith's lawyer, Ivan Fisher, called the shooting in the early hours of July 14, 2007, accidental and suggested the victim, Makeda Barnes-Joseph, was exaggerating the facts to win a large sum in a separate civil suit.
Smith believed her friend had taken $3,000 from her and that her gun went off as the pair struggled over her purse. The bullet pierced Barnes-Joseph's colon and hit her rectum and sent her to a hospital for three weeks.
In appealing for leniency, Smith tearfully described how she had grown up in homeless shelters, "surrounded by poverty and drugs and violence and failure."
"Remy Ma is not even close to who I really am. I'm not a thug," she said. "I'm not a threat or a menace to society, and I still have so much to offer."
But prosecutor Michael McIntosh said that Smith had a habit of traveling with a loaded weapon and said something like this "was bound to happen one day."
The sentence was read aloud to a packed courtroom, including the rapper's fiance, the rapper Papoose.
Smith and Papoose had planned to marry yesterday at New York's Rikers Island jail, but the ceremony was canceled after a handcuff key was discovered on Papoose, officials said.
After the sentencing, as Smith's friends and family gathered outside the courtroom, Papoose had to be restrained as he lurched at one of the 15 court officers who had been stationed in the courtroom.
In a phone interview from prison last week on the satellite radio show with New York DJ Kay Slay, Smith said she was innocent and that there is a "whole conspiracy against rappers right now."
"Don't be mistaken by a jury that was not my peers. Like, there was not tan, dark brown, black, nothin' on that jury," she said.
(Editing by Michelle Nichols and Philip Barbara)
Copyright © 2008 Reuters Limited.