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Man pleads not guilty to murdering rapper Dolla

ASSOCIATED PRESS

LOS ANGELES — A man accused of murder in the shooting death of Dolla at a Los Angeles mall has pleaded not guilty.

Aubrey Louis Berry entered the plea to murder and assault charges in a Los Angeles courtroom last Friday. The 23-year-old Atlanta resident remains jailed on $5 million bail.

Berry was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport last Monday, hours after police say he shot and killed Dolla, whose real name was Roderick Anthony Burton II, in the valet area of an upscale mall.

Berry’s attorney, Howard R. Price, said his client was acting in self-defense when he killed Burton, 21, and fired at two other people.

Price said Berry feared for his life after he and Burton had an altercation at an Atlanta nightclub earlier this month.

Burton, an Atlanta-based rapper and a protégé of Akon, recently released two singles with his mentor: “Like This” and “She So Fine.”

Price said it was a coincidence that the two men ended up in the same city (Los Angeles), the same restaurant (P.F. Chang’s China Bistro) on the same day and at the same time. He said Berry, who was arrested after the killing with a loaded 9mm handgun and a plane ticket, was trying to leave the city because he feared for his safety.

Price accused Burton and his entourage of being affiliated with the Crips gang and said that is one of the reasons Berry feared for his life. He said Berry told him that Burton threatened him in the restroom and followed him to the valet area, and that’s why he opened fire.

Price said Berry did not file a police report after the altercation in Atlanta earlier this because “he knew who he was dealing with.”

Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, said the office would not comment on the evidence, but that details presented by Los Angeles police detectives were sufficient to support the murder and assault charges.

“As far as arguing the merits of the case, we prefer to do that in the courtroom and not on the sidewalk,” Gibbons said.

Price said videotape shot at the restaurant will corroborate Berry’s story, but that there is no video of the actual shooting. He said Berry, a music promoter, was at the restaurant for a business meeting.

Burton was in Los Angeles to work on a studio album.

Associated Press writer Anthony McCartney contributed to this report.

(Associated Press)