A bodyguard for heavyweight rapper Big Punisher is scheduled to enter a Pontiac, Mich., courtroom Tuesday (Nov. 24) to answer a charge that he fired a gun into the air and later at club security personnel during a concert that ended in pandemonium.
The pre-trial hearing was expected to find the suspect, Felix Cabrera, 33, entering a plea on felony charges of discharging a weapon in a building, asking for the case to be moved to trial or once again asking for more time to build a better defense.
"We're ready to go to trial," assistant prosecuting attorney Kenneth Frazee said Monday afternoon (Nov. 23). "We'll see tomorrow if [Cabrera] enters a plea. We're ready for whatever happens."
Herbert Larson, Cabrera's lawyer in Michigan, did not respond to inquiries about his client's plans.
Cabrera is scheduled to enter the courtroom of 6th District Court Judge Nanci Grant at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. The bodyguard and his attorney originally stood before Grant on Oct. 18, at which time they asked for the trial date to be pushed back to build a better defense.
Prosecutors allege that Cabrera fired a 9 mm pistol into the air several times during Big Punisher's July 9 concert at a Pontiac, Mich., nightclub, causing club patrons to flee the club and spurring a battle between members of the audience and police outside the theater. The gunshots allegedly were fired to restore order in the theater after concert-goers became unruly, police said.
Cabrera also is alleged to have pointed the gun at club security personnel before he and some of Big Punisher's crew tried to flee out a back door, according to Sgt. Conway Thompson, Pontiac Police Department spokesman.
Cabrera was arrested near a dumpster in an alley behind the club. In the dumpster, police found a 9 mm pistol and a .45-caliber gun. He could have faced a lesser charge of intentionally aiming a firearm without malice -- a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail. But in a preliminary hearing Aug. 13, Judge Leo Boman found that there was enough evidence to go ahead with the felony charge -- a crime punishable by up to four years in prison.
Tests have been completed on the weapons found in the dumpster behind the club, the Industry, police said. But Frazee and Thompson refused to comment on the results, not wanting to release the information prior to trial. Though police said the crowd that left the Industry showered police with rocks and bottles, no arrests have been made as a result of the melee, Thompson explained Monday afternoon.
Thompson also said that arrests have yet to be made in the case of three concert patrons who were shot hours after the concert was over.
"We're taking this case very serious," Frazee said in a previous interview. "We're not anti-gun. We're against people using guns in this fashion. Concerts are designed for people to get together to have a good time. When a concert ends in panic, there's a higher likelihood of violence."
Big Punisher's most recent album, Capital Punishment, included the single "I'm Not A Player" (RealAudio excerpt).
After eight months on the Billboard 200 albums chart, Capital Punishment dropped off the chart for the first time last week.