Georgia Supreme Court Reverses Murder Conviction Involving Rap Video

The Georgia Supreme Court has overturned a Houston County man’s conviction in the fatal shooting of a bouncer outside a nightclub.

According to Houston County prosecutors, Morgan Baker fatally shot Tamarco Head, a bouncer at Club Boss, in 2019. He was convicted in 2022 and sentenced to life in prison.

His defense contended that the State should not have included parts of a rap video as evidence in the trial.

Georgia’s Supreme Court agreed in an opinion released on Tuesday.

Before the trial, Baker filed a motion to prevent a music video for Kobe Crawford’s rap song “Ghetto Angels” from being introduced as evidence. In the footage, Baker is seen holding a semi-automatic pistol with an extended magazine.

The Houston County judge found that a 33-second snippet from the video could be displayed to prove Baker’s identification. Baker claimed that the clip would unduly prejudice the jury against him.

“And because the State has not met its burden of showing that the error was harmless, we reverse Baker’s conviction,” Justice Sarah Hawkins Warren wrote in the ruling.

Georgia Supreme Court Reverses Murder Conviction Involving Rap Video

They claim the State failed to establish a relationship between Baker displaying a gun in a music video and his desire to shoot at security guards.

“If anything, the alleged ‘link’ between the video and Baker’s motive appears to be the video’s portrayal of Baker as a violent gunman—a link that essentially amounts to impermissible propensity evidence,” the judge said.

She goes on to claim that the video had “little, if any, probative value” and was “at most, trivial.”

Some dissenting judges argue that the film was “not as prejudicial as the majority opinion holds.”

They go on to explain that the video accounted for only a few minutes of a four-day trial that had lots of additional evidence against Baker.

The film was shown for 99 seconds and discussed for only a few minutes during the four-day trial—a trial, as I previously stated, in which considerable proof of Baker’s guilt was provided to the jury,” says Justice Shawn Ellen LaGrua.

Baker has been serving his sentence in the Coffee Correctional Facility in southern Georgia. There is currently no information on when he will be released.

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