A teen killed in a nightclub shooting was a devoted fan of the rapper charged in his slaying, according to the prosecutor in the murder trial of C-Murder (real name: Corey Miller).

A teen killed in a nightclub shooting was a devoted fan of the rapper charged in his slaying, according to the prosecutor in the murder trial of C-Murder (real name: Corey Miller). The younger brother of rap star Master P, Miller is charged with second-degree murder and faces a mandatory life sentence if he is convicted in the death of 16-year-old Steve Thomas.

As Miller's trial began Wednesday in Gretna, La., prosecutor Douglas W. Freese said Thomas had dreams of a rap career and had posters of the defendant on the walls of his bedroom. The trial is expected to last about three weeks. Master P, whose real name is Percy Miller, did not attend the first day of the proceedings.

Miller, 30, has acknowledged being in Club Platinum in suburban New Orleans that night in January 2002, but has denied shooting Thomas.

In his opening statement, Freese said the shooting followed an argument on the nightclub dance floor. He said Miller and about five friends were "beating the tar" out of Thomas when Miller pulled a gun and shot him in the chest. Freese said a witness will testify that he saw Miller shoot the victim.

Miller's lawyer, Ronald J. Rokosky, said investigators never found the weapon and had no evidence tying Miller to the slaying. The only witness to the actual shooting has lied to police and never actually saw a gun in Miller's hand, Rokosky said.

There were roughly 300 people inside when the shooting occurred. Police have said Thomas used a fake ID to get into the now-closed club.

Miller has a history of trouble with the police, and faces numerous charges besides the second-degree murder count. He was on bail when the Club Platinum shooting occurred, facing an attempted first-degree murder charge for allegedly trying to shoot a Baton Rouge nightclub owner. Police said a fight occurred when the man wanted to check Miller for weapons; the rapper allegedly tried to fire his gun but it malfunctioned.

Miller's lyrics and nickname played a central part of jury selection, with defense lawyers quizzing potential jurors on their views about rap and whether they could be impartial toward a murder suspect whose nickname is C-Murder. One man was dismissed after he described rap as "just about drugs and shooting the cops."

Miller's father, Percy Miller Sr., said Monday that his son is innocent. "This is a lot of stress on the family, but we know he didn't do it," he told The Associated Press outside the courtroom. He said people should ignore the C-Murder image: a gangster who boasts about his life of crime and violence. "He's a rapper," the father said. "That's just a character he's playing."


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