Louisiana rapper Lil Phat was killed on June 7,2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. Born Melvin Vernell, Lil Phat was shot multiple times in a car that had been parked near the Northside Hospital Women’s Center. At the time of his death, police never specified any leads but referred to it as “an assassination.” Over the past few months several details have come to light.
According to Fulton County officials, Lil Phat was killed in a murder-for-hire plot after stealing ten pounds of marijuana from Decensae White, former San Francisco State University point guard. White and the (BGM) Bang Get Money gang affiliate Gary Bradford hired a fellow BGM member, Deandre Washington and suspected getaway driver Maurice Conner to murder Lil Phat for $10,000.
Former Russian mobster Mani Chulpayev is also suspected in having played a part in Lil Phat’s murder. Chupayev allegedly rented a vehicle to Phat and gave his GPS coordinates to Washington and Conner who found the artist at the Northside Hospital Women’s Center.
Chulpayev denies any involvement in the murder and claims that he and White were merely business partners. Chulpayev has a past history of being involved in organized crime, having been convicted on charges in the 1990’s and later becoming an informant for the FBI.
White also denies having any involvement in Lil Phat’s death. Bradford’s lawyers argued that he is not a gang member, he is just an autistic rapper who uses ‘violent imagery’ in his music.
Chupayev, Bradford and Washington were denied bond and have remained in the Fulton County jail. Conner is in jail in Alabama and White is currently out on bail.
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