Rapper sentenced to life in prison

GRETNA, LA District Judge Hans Liljeberg gave Miller the mandatory life sentence, days after a jury convicted the rapper of second-degree murder.

At least 20 uniformed officers surrounded the 38-year-old Miller as he shuffled into court and remained until he was led back to jail.

Miller was convicted of shooting 16-year-old fan Steve Thomas at a now-closed nightclub in Harvey after a confrontation during a rap contest.

It was the second time that a jury convicted Miller in the case, but a 2003 conviction was overturned.

Before he handed down the sentence, the judge denied a request by Miller's attorney Ron Rakosky for a new trial. Then Thomas' parents took the stand to testify about the damage the murder had done to them.

"We still cry every day for our baby," Dolores Thomas said, weeping. "We never got to see him graduate, go to the prom, get married. We won't have a grandchild to love."

Thomas's father, George Thomas, said holding in the pain of his son's murder led to a heart attack which left him in intensive care for four months. Then he turned to address the Miller family and friends in the courtroom directly.

"I'm sorry for you, but you can see him," he said. "You can talk to him. What do we have? All we can look at are photos and a grave."

Miller, who had smiled at his family earlier, stared stoically ahead during the Thomas testimony.

In Louisiana the sentence does not allow probation or parole.

Following the sentencing, the judge granted a motion for appeal. He also allowed Rakosky to withdraw as Miller's lawyer and appointed a public defender for the rapper.

Rakosky had asked to withdraw in May, saying he had not been paid for his work for Miller. Liljeberg refused that request.

Miller was fingerprinted after the sentencing, then surrounded with guards and taken immediately to the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel, 13 miles south of Baton Rouge.

Miller has been in jail after pleading no contest to two counts of attempted murder in a separate altercation at a nightclub in Baton Rouge in 2001.

Miller and his brothers -- Percy "Master P" Miller and Vyshonn "Silkk The Shocker" Miller -- used to rap on Percy Miller's now-defunct No Limit Records, a popular label for Southern rap through the 1990s.

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