A Los Angeles jury has acquitted Aubrey Louis Berry of killing up-and-coming Atlanta rapper Dolla during a shooting last year at a crowded L.A. mall, The Associated Press reports. Deputy District Attorney and prosecutor Bobby Grace’s contention that Berry killed Dolla (real name: Roderick Anthony Burton II) as an act of vengeance was rejected by jurors.
Upon the reading of the verdict, Berry hugged his attorney while Burton’s mother, Dayne Robinson, reportedly sobbed: “Oh, please, somebody help me.”
The 21-year-old Dolla was shot and killed last May at the Beverly Center mall in Los Angeles during an assault in broad daylight. Berry was subsequently arrested in connection with the shooting and has remained in prison since. Berry’s attorney, Howard K. Price, made the argument that the shooting was committed in self-defense , a claim disputed by Dolla’s family.
“There are three victims in this case, none of which is Aubrey Berry,” the Burton family’s spokesperson Dennis Byron said in a statement on May 22, 2009. “His claim of self-defense is very colorful, but the fact is that he traveled from Atlanta with a loaded firearm for which he didn’t possess a carry permit for in the state of California and then he assassinates Mr. Burton and attempts to shoot his cousin Will and his friend DJ Shabazz.”
Price argued that Berry felt threatened by Dolla over a previous incident at an Atlanta nightclub.
“If somebody has a reasonable perception that he is in danger of bodily injury or death, he has a right to defend himself,” Price told MTV News last year. “He felt his life was in danger because of the previous altercation and what this guy [Burton] is reputed to be, which is [a member of] the Crips [street gang].”