Philadelphia Criminal Law News

Rapper 'Steel' Simmons Doesn't Snitch; Gets 15 to 30 For Murder

Well, at least he’s still got his street cred because by the time he gets out of prison, he won’t have much of a career. As the luminary Jay-Z once reportedly said, there ain’t nothing hot about a forty-year-old rapper.

Steel, a.k.a. Jamaal Simmons, was sentenced today for his part in the murder of an innocent bystander. To the end, he refused to give up the trigger man, which resulted in a longer prison sentence, reports the Philadelphia Daily News.

According to the news report, Simmons was driving a van near the Raymond Rosen Manor public housing complex. The intended target was a rival rapper. Simmons pulled up and the trigger man jumped out. The shot, intended for a rapper, hit a minister in the back of the head. Simmons and the trigger man sped off.

In Pennsylvania, murder is separated into three distinct degrees. First degree murder is premeditated murder. Someone must intend to kill someone, plan to do it in advance, and then actually succeed. Second degree murder is where someone dies during the commission of a felony offense, such as in a liquor store holdup. Third degree is anything else.

Steel, because he was not the trigger man, was convicted of third degree murder. Should the trigger man be identified at a later date, he can be charged with first degree murder. There was premeditation, planning, and someone actually died. The doctrine of transferred intent will still allow for a first degree prosecution, even though the trigger man was a bad shot.

Besides the prevalent rap credo of "stop snitchin'," the massive sentence facing his coconspirator possibly swayed Steel's decision to remain mute. While Steel is only going to serve between 15 and 30 years, a first degree murder conviction could lead to a life sentence or even possibly the death penalty.

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