C-Murder: Rapper Lives His Lyrics
On October 1, following closing arguments by both sides, the jury retired to deliberate. Three hours and 40 minutes later, at 8:40 p.m., they filed back into the courtroom and solemnly announced their verdict. Corey Miller, alias C-Murder, was guilty of second-degree murder.
Corey's family members and friends screamed and wept and fled the courtroom on hearing the jury's decision. Corey himself showed no emotion. The verdict carried with it a mandatory life sentence with no parole.
Several friends of the Thomas family were seen smiling and using their cellphones to relay the verdict to other friends and family members as they exited the courthouse. George Thomas, Jr., the victim's father, wept and told reporters, "Now my son can rest in peace."
Freese told the media he was pleased the Thomas family "got the justice they deserved." The lead prosecutor added that Thomas had aspirations of also becoming a rap star "but his innocence and naïveté clashed with C-Murder's arrogance and cowardice."
During closing arguments a few hours earlier, Freese had responded to what witness Rankins said she heard Corey tell Thomas, "Do you know who the f____ I am?" Freese told the jury, "Now you now know who he is. He is a killer and a murderer."
Freese and co-prosecutor Roger Jordan called the jury's attention to the conflicting stories of all nine of the defense's witnesses. "They had him (Corey) all over the place," Jordan said. They also praised the bravery of their witnesses for coming out against someone as popular and potentially menacing as C-Murder.
Rakosky countered that the prosecution had not proved Corey's guilt and no physical evidence linked him to Thomas' death. "The tragedy of losing a life cannot be undone by another injustice," Rakosky told the jury. He also countered the prosecution's argument that defense witnesses gave conflicting testimony, saying prosecution witnesses were also inconsistent in their testimony. "Why should defense witnesses be less worthy of belief?" he quizzed the jury.
Closing arguments had been interrupted for more than four hours when it was announced that the State Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals had ordered Judge Sassone to amend her instructions to the jury. Prosecutors asked her to read special instructions to the jury about considering the crime of manslaughter but she initially declined. Their reasoning was that juries unable to convict on second degree murder charges have the option of convicting on manslaughter charges, a lesser crime, but still one warranting a harsh sentence.
At the time the announcement was made about the Appeals Court ruling, Rakosky had just finished his closing argument. Following lengthy legal wrangling by both sides, the jury was duly informed and Rakosky was given a few extra minutes, during which he decried the "changing of rules in midstream." But the long delay and the labyrinthine legal arguments that took place were for nothing as the jury opted for a verdict on the original charge — murder in the second degree.