Christopher Darden, one of the prosecutors in the infamous O.J. Simpson trial, is now defending one of Pop Smoke’s alleged killers.
Darden was put in the spotlight following the 1994 killings of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman when he served on the prosecution team against Simpson.
His role in the trial led people to accuse him of being a traitor to his race, and he received further criticism in 2019 when he decided to represent Eric Holder, the man accused of killing hip-hop star Nipsey Hussle. Darden ultimately withdrew from that case, saying his family had received death threats.
Now, Darden is acting as defence attorney for Corey Walker, who was arrested last month alongside Keandre Rodgers on suspicion of murdering 20-year-old musician Pop Smoke, whose real name was Bashar Barakah Jackson.
Three other men were also arrested in connection with the murder; Jaquan Murphy, who was held on suspicion of attempted murder but who has not yet been charged, and two minors, aged 17 and 15, who have have been charged with murder and robbery. All five men are suspected South Los Angeles gang members.
Pop Smoke died in February after five males allegedly broke into the home he was renting in the Mt. Olympus neighbourhood of the Hollywood Hills. The suspects are thought to have used social media postings to track the artist, and he is believed to have been shot after plans for a home invasion robbery went wrong.
The 20-year-old was transported to a local hospital, where he later died.
The attorney who represented Walker on Monday did not enter a plea for his client, but he did indicate that it would be ‘not guilty.’
Rodgers’ defence attorney, Christopher Chaney, told the judge that there was a discrepancy regarding his client’s birthday, with his rap sheet including three different dates; February 13, 2002, June 13, 2001, and June 13, 2002.
If Rodgers was born on February 13, 2002, he would have been a minor on the night of the crime on February 19, meaning his case may actually belong in juvenile court.
If his birth date is one of the other two, however, he would have been an adult at the time of Pop Smoke’s murder, meaning the case would continue in adult court.
Preliminary hearings for Pop Smoke’s murder are set to continue on Wednesday, August 26.