DETROIT — A rapper on the cusp of national fame was the first person to fire a shot at a strip club the night he was killed, according to testimony in a Detroit courtroom Friday.
Surveillance video captured the scene outside Crazy Horse strip club before the fatal shooting of rapper Dex Osama, whose legal name is Byron Cox. Several angles were played in court during a preliminary examination for two men charged in the case, including footage showing Osama being shot.
Otis Davis, 46, faces charges of open murder, possession of a firearm by a felon and felony firearm. Dietrick Odums, 31, is charged with assault with intent to murder, possession of a firearm by a felon and felony firearm in connection with the fatal shooting.
As the two defendants sat handcuffed in jail garb in the packed courtroom, their lawyers, prosecutors and a judge gathered around a television, watching the video that was recorded about 1:30 a.m. ET Sept. 7.
The video “speaks for itself” 36th District Judge Kenneth King said, before ruling both men should proceed to trial on all charges.
“This kind of stupid, outrageous conduct in this city has to stop,” he said, noting he’s not saying Cox is “any angel.”
In the four months before his death, several of Cox’s tracks on the music service Soundcloud were listened to more than 175,000 times. In those songs, his musical vibe was rough, with lyrics about crime scenarios and street life.
Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill had signed him to a recording deal before his death.
On the night of his death, Cox was upset that his girlfriend, a stripper at the club, was going to dance for a man that they both knew. He poured champagne on her and told her to get dressed, the girlfriend, Chantell Sturdivant said in courtroom testimony last week.
Detroit police have said two groups of men got into an argument in the club at some point and it moved outside.
Cox fired a shot inside and another outside the club before Davis fatally shot him, according to Friday testimony. Rapid gunfire is heard on the video after the up-and-coming rapper is shot and runs away.
Davis’ lawyer, Todd Perkins, argued that his client shot in self-defense and said Davis believed Cox had a firearm in his hand when his client shot.
When Davis fired his first shot, Cox was not posing a danger of imminent death or serious bodily harm to Davis, said Michael Reynolds, assistant Wayne County prosecutor. Before the shooting, two groups were arguing and the prosecutor contended Cox didn’t have a gun in his hand at the time.
He also said Cox was running and posed no threat to Odums when Odums allegedly fired shots.
Odums’ lawyer, Marlon Evans, told the court that his client was not shooting at Cox.
Detroit Police Officer Raymond Diaz testified during the hearing that he collected evidence at the scene.
“Between the inside and the outside, I collected 25 shell casings,” he testified. “All of them were .40-caliber.”
Police recovered a gun that Cox was seen on surveillance video putting in a trash can at nearby gas station, Reynolds said.
When Detroit Police Officer James Wincek got to the scene, he said he tried to find out what happened from Cox.
“He just kept saying ‘I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe’ and ‘I don’t want to die,’ ” Wincek said.
Police have said Cox collapsed at the gas station and was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.
The courtroom was packed with people who knew the defendants and Cox. After court let out for the day, a fight occurred outside the courthouse, causing deputies and police to quickly respond.
Davis has am 1989 conviction for second-degree murder. He was paroled in 2012 and discharged from parole last year, according to the Michigan Department of Corrections.
Both defendants, who are being held without bond, are due to be arraigned Nov. 6 in Wayne County Circuit Court.
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