Noted for good conduct, expanding his vocational training and mentoring other inmates, the Louisiana Board of Pardons and Committee has granted parole to McKinley Phipps Jr., the former No Limit rapper who performed under the name “Mac” during his days in the free world.
It’s been a long time coming for Phipps, who served two decades behind bars on a manslaughter charge for the killing of 19-year-old Barron Victor Jr. According to Nola.com, Victor was shot when a fight erupted outside of a club where Phipps was set to perform. The rapper was 22 years old at the time, and now, some twenty years later, he will get another opportunity at freedom.
Phipps has vehemently denied the allegations, both throughout the 2001 trial and during his long bid in prison. For his family, today represents a victory following years of waiting.
“Today marks the end of a long fight for justice,” Mac’s wife told WDSU6. “Today we are looking towards a brighter future for our family. We are grateful to all of those who have never wavered in their support of Mac’s innocence.”
In 2016, HuffPost shared a leaked confession tape, which seemed to prove Phipps was not the alleged shooter. On the tape, a security guard working at the venue where Victor Jr. was murdered admitting to pulling the trigger. Despite the revelation, which came to light nearly 15 years after Phipps was convicted, the guard still was not charged.
A year earlier, rapper Killer Mike spoke on the case, noting that rap lyrics have been used to convict Phipps despite a lack of hard evidence identifying him as the shooter.
“No physical evidence connecting Phipps to the crime … multiple eyewitnesses [identified] a different shooter.” Mike told Vox in 2015. “The prosecutor went after Phipps’ art, relying on a tactic that dates back to the Jim Crow South: he punished black speech.”
Phipps replied to the parole board by thanking them and offered condolences to the victim’s family.
“I want to say thank you for this opportunity,” he said. “I definitely want to say I’m sorry to the family of the victim and to just anyone who was affected by this.”
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