At the turn of the century, Mac "The Camouflage Assassin" seemed destined for big things. His 1998 debut, Shell Shocked, came out on Master P's No Limit Records and reached No. 11 on Billboard. He was collaborating with Silkk The Shocker, C-Murder, Soulja Slim and pretty much anyone you would want to hear in New Orleans at the time. He gained further notoriety as a member of the 504 Boyz, dropping "Wobble Wobble"  off the famous collective LP Goodfellas in 2000. Then in Mac went Jr to prison.

Mac, born McKinley Phipps Jr., was charged in the shooting death of 19-year-old Barron Victor Jr. at a nightclub open mic in Slidell, La. Charged with second-degree murder, Phipps was convicted of manslaughter, a lesser charge, but still enough to land him in jail until his scheduled release in 2024. (Phipps says he has spent his time inside writing songs, and occasionally performs.)

However, new evidence casts doubt on his conviction. An investigation by The Medill Justice Project, Louisiana State University, and The Lens, has concluded that there are four major points of contention: another shooter, originally disbelieved by authorities, confessed to the crime; witnesses doubt that the key eyewitness saw the shooting at all; several witnesses claim Phipps did not fire any shots; a principal eyewitness recently signed an affidavit, recanting her testimony that she saw Phipps fire a weapon.

Also notable in Phipps' original trial was a prosecutor's determination to use the rapper's lyrics as evidence. Songs like "Murda, Murda, Kill Kill" were cited as being pertinent to Phipps' character.

Thus far, Phipps has been unsuccessful in appealing his conviction, but he hopes that that might change in light of this new information.

[The Lens]

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