Rap song could have legal implications: expert
Legal experts are scratching their heads over a hip-hop video posted online in which a man wanted by police denies he committed murder.
"He didn't have a lawyer instruct him to make that video. That would be the worst advice you could give," CTV's legal analyst Steven Skurka said Wednesday.
"Over the years I have seen a number of instances where people under arrest think they are helping themselves by proclaiming their innocence but actually end up incriminating themselves."
Pierre Oliver Ellis is accused of killing Keyon "Ace" Campbell on Dec. 2, 2007.
Police said Campbell was at home in the Finch and Morningside Avenues area playing videogames with friends on the night of his death. When he stepped out to warm up his mother's car at around 1:30 a.m. he was shot.
Campbell made it back inside his home, police said, where he collapsed. His mother tried to revive him but he died after being rushed to hospital.
In the music video, which is posted under Ellis' emcee name of "Capitol P," the 23-year-old denies killing "Ace" and says that he treated him better than his own brother.
The video includes several gun references and shows Ellis smoking what appears to be marijuana.
"Didn't reach the funeral, hate seeing sad faces," Ellis rhymes at one point. "What you never think I never loaded up my shell cases?"
It has been viewed more than 10,000 times since it was uploaded on Aug. 4, 2009.
On Monday, police issued a warrant for Ellis' arrest for first-degree murder. They described the 23-year-old as black, 5'9" tall with a medium build and black hair. He is considered "armed and dangerous."
They believe he is still in the Toronto area.
Skurka said this is the first time he has heard of charges coming after a music video was posted online, but that social media has taken a larger role in police investigations over the years.
Skurka said the decision to publish a song proclaiming his innocence may have seemed like a good idea, but could have serious repercussions if the case goes to trial.
"The Crown may take the position that even though there is an assertion of innocence, he is actually hurting himself," he said. "They'll tell the jury ‘disregard these statements he's making about being innocent and focus on other features, like the gun references and why he's making the video at all.'"
No charges against Ellis have been proven in court.
In the wake of Campbell's death three years ago, friends and family described him as a bright student and avid basketball player who held down a part-time job.
Police said the teen was known to police but he did not have a criminal record.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga at 416-808-7392 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).