Biggie Smalls: A Cold Case Mock Trial
Purdue University Global
CJ Unit 7 Assignment
Biggie Smalls: A Cold Case Mock Trial
The Notorious B.I.G., also known as Biggie Smalls and born Christopher Wallace, was shot and killed as a passenger in a vehicle that was leaving an industry party, on March 9, 1997. There were dozens of witnesses on the streets that watched as the dark Chevy Impala pulled through, fired shots, and pulled off fleeing the scene, however to this day the murder of Biggie Smalls. Rapper Smalls was seated as a passenger in the middle vehicle, of a three-vehicle caravan, shots were fired from the Impala with a 9-millimeter handgun, as it pulled alongside the caravan, killing Smalls; witnesses identified the shooter as a light skinned black male, wearing a suit and bow tie. The LAPD investigation went on for years with hidden detail surrounding speculation of involvement within their department and evidence that seemed to be ignored. In 2002 the FBI opened its own investigation based on the speculation that Biggie had been killed as retaliation for rapper Tupac Shakur who was shot and killed just six months prior. Though there were many who witnessed this heinous act and both LAPD and FBI vigorous involvement, this case remains cold to this day (Duke, 2011). Based on case files released by the FBI, evaluation of the details has enabled me to determine my own theory (Duke, 2011).
Making the Arrest– Search Warrants and Seizures of evidence
As the prosecution begins to gather evidence, speak with witnesses, and understand what occurred on the evening on March 9, 1997 when rapper Biggie Smalls was killed, there is a clear indication that the crime was organized, well executed, and far more advanced than “typical gang activity.” Witness encounter would lead prosecution to the arrest of two or more Los Angeles Police Officers. A search warrant was obtained for an unnamed suspects home, but indicated the home belonged to an LAPD officer. The officer’s home was found to have a shrine of the recently deceased Tupac Shakur, LAPD equipment, 9-millimeter handguns, ammunition, and other tactical equipment. The suspects home where these items were found a known member of Mob Piru Blood Gang, along with other LAPD officers, the same gang affiliation of Tupac Shakur (“Christopher (Biggie Smalls) Wallace Part 1 of 3,” 2011). Eyewitness statements places these LAPD officers at the post award music party and with the “trigger man” moments before the murder (Duke, 2011). The lawful search of this home places evidence to the probable cause of retaliation, and eyewitness statements place these LAPD officers at the scene of the crime. After lawful search and seizure, the grand jury had enough for an indictment of LAPO One and LAPO Two for the murder of Christopher Wallace. These two men will be placed on bale pending trial.
The prosecution will introduce themselves to the court, the Honorable Judge, and the members of the jury. The prosecution will state their intent with the trial, and an overview of what they intend to prove. An example of such would be, “LAPO One and LAPO Two are guilty of the murder of rap icon Biggie Smalls. We will prove to you, beyond a reasonable doubt, these men had the means, the equipment, and the need to kill Christopher Wallace as retaliation for the loss of their dear friend Tupac Shakur, through witness testimony and evidence presented to the court” (“Christopher (Biggie Smalls) Wallace Part 1 of 3,” 2011). The defense attorney will introduce themselves to the court, the Honorable Judge, and the members of the jury. The defense will state their intent to prove the accused as innocent on all counts. An example of an opening statement would be, “LAPO One and LAPO Two are law abiding men who took an oath to serve and protect their community. We will prove to the court that their presence at the post award show party was to celebrate with friends, not murder Biggie Smalls. We will prove to the court through witness testimony it was not one of these two men who fired the weapon that killed Christopher Wallace.”
The prosecution could benefit by using Suge Knight to discredit Death Row being involved in the murder of Biggie, as well as many eyewitnesses leaving the party, and Sean “Puffy” Combs, who was one of the caravan drivers. The prosecution will start by calling witness to the witness stand. They will examine the witnesses, under oath, with questions that will place the suspects at the scene of the murder and identifying their personal identity to the jury. Question like, “Can you point out the two men in the room who were seen at the party and then where the shooting occurred.” “Do you recall any members of the death row record label and the two men on trial having any communication that seemed secretive at the party?” The prosecution will then present evidence to the jury, that was seized from the homes of the accused, connecting them with physical evidence to the murder. Examples of this evidence would include the murder weapon, the vehicle driven in the drive by, and the LAPD equipment used for communication to carefully execute the crime (“Christopher (Biggie Smalls) Wallace Part 1 of 3,” 2011). The defense is given the opportunity to cross examine the prosecutions witnesses. During this time, they will have the specific identity of the shooter reestablished and ask questions that would prove the suspects were in fact at the party, but not seen when the actual shooting occurred. They will also try to discredit the testimony of the witness by drawing attention to their alcohol or illicit drug use on the evening of the murder. The cross-examination questions would include, “How far from the scene of the crime were you?” How long prior to the shots being fired to you recall seeing these two men in the area?” When the prosecution has completed their witness testimonies, they will rest their case. At this time the defense will call their witnesses to the stand. The defense could call David Mack, an LAPD officer as a witness. Under oath these witnesses will answer questions that will prove the accused were no where near the scene of the crime. The defense will use historical facts about the deceased to draw attention to his history with gang related violence, drug dealings, and try to conclude the killer was in fact a gang member or drug dealer (“Christopher (Biggie Smalls) Wallace Part 1 of 3,” 2011).
Both the prosecution and defense provide the court with a closing statement. This statement is where all testimony and evidence are summarized, at a high level, to remind the jury of the key points. Each side will highlight flaws in the other sides case and insufficiencies in their witness testimonies. The prosecution will ask that the jury take time to review all the evidence presented and return to the court with a guilty verdict. The defense will ask the jury to be reminded that the officers were not properly identified as the shooter, and the only witnesses placing them at the crime scene where not sobor. They will ask the jury to come back to the court with a not guilty verdict.
Christopher (Biggie Smalls) Wallace Part 1 of 3. (2011, March 27). Retrieved from https://vault.fbi.gov/Christopher (Biggie Smalls) Wallace /christopher-biggie-smalls-wallace-part-1-of-3/view.
Duke, A. (2011, April 8). FBI reveals documents in Biggie Smalls death probe. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2011/CRIME/04/08/biggie.smalls.files/.