ODB Skips Third Hearing On Shoplifting Charges

Judge issues arrest warrants for each of rapper's three failures to appear.

The always-unpredictable rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard now has three warrants out for his

arrest.

And, according to court officials, he's in deeper trouble than ever.

With his most recent failure to appear on Thursday (Aug. 13), the iconoclastic ODB has

quadrupled the potential punishment related to the initial July 4 incident, in which he is

accused of shoplifting a $50 pair of Nike shoes from a Sneaker Stadium store.

The shoplifting misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of a $2,500 fine and/or a year

in prison. Each of the three failure-to-appear warrants carries the same punishment as the original shoplifting

charge.

Virginia Beach [Va.] General District Court Judge Robert L. Simpson waited a half-hour

for Wu-Tang Clan rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard to appear in his courtroom Thursday.

At 11:30 a.m., he decided to move onto other business. When, three hours later, the

rapper had still not shown up for his hearing, Simpson decided to throw the book at the

delinquent MC. Simpson issued three arrest warrants for ODB: one for each of his

failures to appear in the misdemeanor case, according to Anita Smith, deputy clerk of the

court.

"If he's anywhere in Virginia, we'll arrest him," Smith said. "But it's not cost-effective to

extradite anyone on misdemeanor charges."

ODB's New York attorney, Peter Frankel, said he could not comment on the case, other

than to say that the rapper was experiencing travel problems in getting from New York to

Virginia -- the same excuse his Virginia attorney, Wilhelm den Hartog, offered Simpson

when ODB missed his second hearing on Tuesday.

The Virginia attorney did show up for Thursday's hearing, but did not return phone calls

by press time.

When the 29-year-old ODB (born Russell Jones, a.k.a. Osirus, a.k.a. Big Baby Jesus) first

skipped court on July 28 because of conflicting tour dates, Simpson issued a citation for

the rapper's arrest. On Thursday, he withdrew the original citation and replaced it with

three "contempt of court, failure to appear" warrants, each of which bears a stiffer penalty

than the citation.

Had he shown up on Thursday, the rapper could have been arrested for the original

missed date. The case is now on hold until ODB is served with papers for the new

warrants, Smith said.

In recent weeks, the unpredictable ODB has been in and out of news headlines.

In June, he was shot in the back and arm during a Brooklyn, N.Y., robbery, according to

police, who still have produced no suspects in the case. Just days later, he was arrested

on the shoplifting charge. Several weeks after that, ODB claimed his Range Rover had

been stolen from outside a Manhattan, N.Y., recording studio.