The 30 Biggest Criminal Trials in Rap History

15. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Christopher Roney (1996)

Crime: First-Degree Murder
Verdict: Guilty
Sentence: Currently serving sentence at Pennsylvania State Prison awaiting execution.

Philadelphia rappers Cool C and Steady B were stars in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They formed a group alongside rapper Ultimate Eaze known as C.E.B. (Countin’ Endless Bank), and Cool C became known for his “Juice Crew Diss,” and as the mind behind one of the all-time great  hip-hop choruses with “Glamorous Life.”

But by 1996, C and B had fallen on hard times. The duo, joined by local rapper Mark Canty, attempted to rob a PNC bank branch in Philadelphia. C, whose real name was Christopher Roney, shot and killed the policewoman, Lauretha Vaird, who responded to the bank alarm. Vaird, who had two children, was the first female officer killed in the line of duty.

Steady B, Cool C and Canty fled in a minivan, but were ultimately apprehended. A weapon left at the crime scene was traced back to Steady B. B’s wife testified in the court that the three rappers met in B’s apartment after the robbery, where she overheard them watching media coverage of the robbery and discussing their next moves.

Roney was convicted October 30, and was sentenced to death by lethal injection. His original execution date was set for 2006, but Judge Gary Glazer granted him a stay, awaiting the results of impending litigation. He has maintained his innocence, despite ballistics evidence and witness testimony to the contrary. Steady B was convicted to life in prison for his role as the getaway driver in the murder.

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