The highest court in Georgia will hear the case of a man who shot rapper Lil Wayne’s tour bus as retaliation in a gang dispute.
Jimmy Winfrey is appealing his 10-year prison sentence and conviction to the Georgia Supreme Court Monday claiming his original judge was so improperly involved in his plea negotiations that the plea was “involuntary,” according to a Supreme Court summary of the appeal.
Winfrey, who goes by Peewee Roscoe, was the tour manager of rapper Bryan Williams (Birdman), who had a Bloods gang beef with Dwayne Carter (Lil Wayne).
In April 2015, an argument started between groups with Winfrey and Carter outside of the Compound nightclub on Brady Avenue where Carter was performing.
Later that night, Winfrey driving a white Camaro pulled up on Carter’s tour buses along a Cobb County section of I-285 and started shooting.
Winfrey told police that he did the shooting for a higher gang status.
He was indicted on 27 charges, including one regarding gang violence, in July 2015. Prosecutors offered him two plea deals, both of which he denied; he was hesitant of pleading to the gang charge because of how it would affect his chances of parole.
“This oppurtunity is going away. Go to trial and you get convicted, there’s not going to be any of me being concerned about when you parole out,” the judge told Winfrey, according to the Supreme Court.
The judge went on.
“And if you want to look around and see what happens to people in gangs in Cobb County, Georgia, you can look at what happened last week to the guy who went to trial and got convicted.”
That man was sentenced to 50 years in prison.
His appeal attorneys previously wrote that Winfrey’s “twice-counseled decision for trial was thwarted when the trial judge engaged Winfrey directly, expressed distaste for the charges” and “highlighted an extreme sentence” to “dissuade Winfrey from his not guilty plea.”
Winfrey’s appeal case is set for oral argument during the Supreme Court’s 10 a.m. session.
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