Monday, June 27, 2011

Is Confession Real in Tupac Shooting?

Jimmy "Henchman" Rosemond
by Cathy Scott
Reprinted from Women in Crime Ink

Something stinks in River City, namely the bold words of a convict named Dexter Isaac who, on the eve of what would have been rapper Tupac Shakur’s 40th birthday, “confessed” to shooting Tupac in November 1994 during a grab-and-run armed robbery at a recording studio in New York City.

Tupac survived that shooting. With him that winter night was rapper Randy “Stretch” Walker, who a year later was shot and killed driving a vehicle. Two years after the Quad Studios event, Tupac, too, was killed in a car-to-car shooting, which remains unsolved but is widely believed to have been carried out by the Crips street gang out of Compton, California.

Isaac chose to announce his so-called confession on, a popular rap site. Isaac, in his grand confession, claimed he was paid $2,500 by Czar Entertainment founder James “Jimmy Henchman” Rosemond to pull off the stunt. Isaac also claims he kept “the gold chain” he and a supposed accomplice yanked from Tupac’s neck. The problem with that claim is everything Isaac has said can be found in newspaper accounts of the ’94 shooting. Another problem is that several gold chains, not just one, as Isaac stated, were stolen from Tupac that night.

Isaac’s confession doesn’t add up, and I, for one, am not buying it.

Here’s what actually played out in the late-night hours of November 30, 1994: Tupac was wearing $35,000 worth of jewelry, including two rings, as he and his buddies walked into Quad Recording Studios in Times Square so Tupac could help out a lesser-known performer by rapping on his CD. Hanging out just inside the studio lobby was a man, while another stood outside, both wearing Army fatigues. They jumped all four people, grabbed $5,000 worth of jewelry and chains off Stretch’s neck, then yanked the jewelry from Tupac’s neck.

One of the men grabbed Tupac’s hand and pulled two rings from it. Tupac was shot only after he went for his gun, and they weren’t fatal shots. The perpetrators disappeared into the night.

Tupac didn’t know until earlier in the day that he’d be at Quad studios. Singers are often asked to backup other singers and appear on their CDs, so Tupac, for a fee, agreed at the last minute to help an up-and-coming rapper by performing on one of his tracks. That rapper had nothing to do with Rosemond, and neither did Tupac.

And what did Rosemond have to gain by rubbing out Tupac? The answer? Not a thing.

We’re led to believe by Isaac that Rosemond told him to “Find Tupac, steal jewelry off his neck, keep the jewelry, shoot him, and, in return, I’ll pay you $2,500 for doing it. But give me Tupac’s diamond ring for my girlfriend.”

Hooey, I say. Rosemond doesn’t have a motive. But Isaac does, and that’s cooperating with the feds in a drug-related case against Rosemond where Isaac has reportedly been named as an accomplice. To get himself off the hook, he’s ‘fessing up. Rosemond’s no angel, and I’m not defending him. But facts are facts.

Robbery was the obvious motive for whoever robbed and shot Tupac. Police, however, didn’t check pawnshops for the stolen jewelry and closed the case 30 days later because, as NYPD Detective George Nagy told me two years after the shooting, “Tupac and his attorney wouldn’t talk to us.” So police closed the case.

As for Rosemond, who’s had a federal warrant out for his arrest on drug charges since mid May, was recently taken into custody by federal agents as he left the W Hotel in New York City’s Union Square. Rosemond’s attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman, called the shooting accusation a "flat-out lie," telling Reuters news service that Isaac invented the story to help authorities build their case against Rosemond.

"This is not [Isaac] being a good soldier or clearing his conscience. It's a desperate 17-year-old attempt to reduce his sentence," Lichtman said.

As for 46-year-old Isaac, he’s serving life in prison, for an unrelated murder conviction, at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, which houses federal inmates. NYPD’s Paul Browne told CBS News that his department was looking into Isaac’s claim, and, if it’s determined it’s legitimate, police will interview Isaac.

I’ll be flabbergasted if it pans out. If a man walks into a police station and says, “I shot Tupac Shakur,” the obvious answer would be, “Prove it.” The burden, in this case, lies with the person making the claim.

Scott is the author of The Killing of Tupac Shakur.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

New Evidence in the Cold Case Murder of Susan Berman

By Cathy Scott

New evidence in the murder of writer Susan Berman has come to light, causing the Los Angeles Police Department department to reopen the decades' old case.

New York magazine, where Susan once worked as a writer, is reporting that police are closing in on millionaire Robert Durst as their number one suspect. "We would like to question him," LAPD homicide detective Paul Coulter, the lead investigator in the Berman case, told the magazine. "We would love nothing more than to sit down with Durst and talk to him about this, There's nobody else we're looking at."

Susan Berman, daughter of Las Vegas mobster Davie Berman, was found murdered on Christmas Eve 2000 in her Benedict Canyon home. She had been shot in the back of the head with a single 9mm bullet. There was no sign of forced entry or a burglary, and police determined that someone Susan knew had killed her.

From the start Durst, who befriended Susan when they were classmates at the University of California, Los Angeles, was suspected in the killing. Durst has denied any involvement in Susan's murder.

Coulter told the magazine it's been difficult finding Durst so detectives can interview him. "He's like the silver fox," Coulter said. "He knows what's going on."