Judge Denies Keith Murray's Request For Reduced Sentence

Rapper could face five years in jail on a 1995 assault charge.

Rapper Keith Murray received a legal setback on Wednesday when a

Connecticut

Superior Court judge refused his request for a reduced sentence on

a 1995

second-degree assault charge.

Connecticut's New Britain Superior Court Judge James

Graham denied the motion to reduce the rapper's sentence of five years,

according to Mary Tisdale, an employee of the Court.

Murray had requested that the sentence be reduced to three years in jail

plus three years probation.

The sentence, originally handed down in 1997, was the end result

of a 1995 incident in which Murray hit a fan named

David Hughes over the head with a metal bar stool during a brawl.

"[Murray's] lawyer has now appealed to the [state] supreme court

for certification," Tisdale explained. "There's no set time when

the court has to rule, so it could be a while

before we hear if they will certify this verdict."

Murray, 26, first appeared on the hip-hop scene when he kicked a few raspy-but-smooth

rhymes on Erick Sermon's 1993 solo debut, No Pressure. Murray's The Most

Beautifulest Thing in This World was released in 1994 and is notable for the hit title

track and the appearance of his future Def Squad bandmates, Redman and Sermon, on

"How's That." Murray was on tour supporting the album when the incident occurred.

In 1996, Murray released Enigma, which also featured appearances from Sermon

and Redman. The trio united once again in 1997 to record a version of the Sugarhill

Gang's classic "Rapper's Delight" for the In Tha Beginning ... There Was Rap

covers compilation. Their version proved to be a big hit, so the three united under the Def

Squad moniker and recorded the critically acclaimed El Niño, which

debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 albums chart when it was released in July of

this year. The trio spent the early part of this summer traveling the U.S. as a part of the

"Survival of the Illest" tour with Def Jam labelmates DMX and Onyx.

According to Tisdale, Murray would begin serving the sentence if

the state supreme court signs off on the verdict.

Spokespeople for Jive, Keith Murray's label as a solo artist, had no comment on his legal

wranglings. Spokespeople for Def Jam, the label that handles Def Squad, could not be

reached by press time.