Mario Etheridge, the man who fatally shot D12 rapper Proof during a bar fight in April, was found guilty on two weapons charges Wednesday after a three-day trial — during which witnesses gave sometimes conflicting accounts of what happened at the CCC Club in Detroit that night.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Etheridge, 28, was convicted of carrying a concealed weapon, a felony with a maximum penalty of five years in prison and of discharging a firearm in a building, a felony with a maximum penalty of four years in prison (see “Detroit Prosecutor Says Proof’s Killer Sparked Fatal April Gunfight” ).
Etheridge was not on trial for homicide because Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy opted not to pursue murder charges against him (see “Prosecutor Says Proof’s Slaying Was Justified” ). Worthy said Etheridge, a bouncer at the after-hours nightclub, acted in self-defense on the night of April 11 when he shot Proof (born Deshaun Holton), 32, who had shot Etheridge’s cousin Keith Bender Jr. in the face following an argument over a pool game (see “D12’s Proof Shot And Killed At Detroit Club” and “Man Allegedly Shot By D12’s Proof Dies” ).
“No one can calm a violent situation down by introducing a weapon,” Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Elizabeth Walker said, according to the Free Press. “Today’s verdict proves this. Sadly, there are still two dead people and that is tragic.”
The jury in the case was told that Etheridge was involved in two shooting incidents at the club that night. In the first, he fired two shots into the ceiling in an attempt to stop a fight between Proof and Bender, and in the second he shot Proof.
Etheridge will be sentenced on October 17. Because he has no prior convictions, he may not necessarily face prison time, the Free Press reported.