Indianapolis rapper T Ward, real name Troy Ward, was convicted of murder and robbery charges after his music was used as evidence in court. IndyStar reports Ward was hit with the conviction in 2018 after a prosecutor linked his lyrics to a triple homicide in 2017.
"I creep up to the door silently and slow/I opened up that bitch and now we clashing poles/Two shots to the body two shots to the dome/Finesse the fucking stash and then I took it home," Ward rapped on the song, which uses the beat from the 2 Chainz song "I'm Different."
Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears claimed the lyrics matched the 2017 triple homicide, which left 25-year-old Dominique Miller, 25-year-old Jordan Wright, and 19-year-old Justin Crowder dead. He was allegedly joined by two accomplishes, Martell Williams and Stanley Williams, who were also 18 at the time of the crime like Ward was. Authorities described the incident as a drug deal gone wrong.
"This was not a random talk about some random incident," Mears said of the lyrics used in court. "When you take all of those things together, that song is pretty consistent with the facts of the case," he added. "We pretty much broke it down, lyric by lyric." Additionally, Mears said the song mentioned how one of the victims was wearing swimming trunks at the time. Three co-defendants testified against Ward at his trial.
Ward's trial attorney Charles White has argued that rap songs shouldn't be used as evidence, as it should be viewed as art. "There are a lot of songs that have similar content," he said. "Are all of these artists talking about events that they were witnesses or part of, or are they creating art based on society?" White added that a time frame for when the song was recorded, or written, could not specified and further muddied the narrative.
"This isn’t the first time this has happened," Mears said, arguing that the song was incriminating. “We have won more murder cases than we ever have before because of cellphones and social media. Because people routinely brag about, whether it's in songs, whether it's in Instagram posts, whether it's on Facebook, about what they just did." He dismissed that it sets a dangerous precedent, however, comparing it to a violent film.
"Look, Martin Scorsese makes a gangster movie, doesn't mean he's in the mafia," he said. "That does not mean he participated in those crimes at all. What I am saying is if Martin Scorsese makes a movie about a murder, and three other people say Martin Scorsese was involved in that murder, and Martin Scorsese knows details about the murder that no one else would know unless they're at the crime scene, then I think we need to take a closer look at the movie."
Just last year, Tay-K's song "The Race" was entered into evidence for his sentencing. Mayhem Mal, meanwhile, was arrested for anti-police lyrics in 2017.