Louisiana rapper Lil Phat was killed in retaliation for stealing 10 pounds of weed, according to prosecutors in the murder case of the men charged with killing the former Trill Family MC. Five men, including a rapper, a former Division II basketball standout and a former Russian mobster have been linked to Phat, born, Melvin Vernell III’s death. According to a report by the Associated Press, during a recent bond hearing in the case prosecutors divulged more information on what they allege was the motive behind the killing.

Prosecutors allege Phat lifted the greenery from San Francisco State University point guard Decensae White and Gary “El Dorado Red” Bradford, a rapper and suspected Bang Get Money (BGM) gang affiliate. In response to the theft, the two are said to have hired, Deandre Washington and Maurice Conner, the alleged getaway driver, for $10,000 to murder Phat. The rapper was shot to death while sitting in a parked car in the parking deck of a North Atlanta hospital while awaiting the birth of his child. According to prosecutors, Phat was pinpointed by the killers by use of his car’s GPS tracking system. The killers are said to have gotten the coordinates from the man Phat rented the car from, former Russian mobster Mani Chulpayev.

All the men deny involvement in Phat’s death. Chulpayev, who was convicted on charges related to organized crime in the '90s and later became an informant, said he and White are merely business partners. At the hearing, the defense painted White as a model citizen, even playing his highlights from last basketball season. Bradford's lawyers contended that he is not in a gang and is a loving and devoted father.

White has been granted bail, while the other four defendants remain in jail.

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