Czar Entertainment founder James "Jimmy Henchman" Rosemond is a "ruthless criminal" who lived a double life and "ran his rap business like a street gang," Assistant U.S. Attorney Samson Enzer told jurors at the start of the former music executive's trial Monday (Feb. 10). Rosemond is accused in the 2009 murder-for-hire of G-Unit affiliate Lowell Fletcher.
The former manager to Salt-N-Pepper, Game, Brandy, Akon and Sean Kingston used his company as a front, the prosecutor said. Rosemond is already serving a life sentence for drug trafficking, and reportedly confessed to a 1994 Tupac Shakur shooting. In court Monday, the prosecutor explained how an assault on Rosemond's then 14-year-old son led to Fletcher's murder. "Rosemond decided that for slapping his son, a member of G-Unit had to die," Enzer said. "His goal was to make sure that members of G-Unit had to carry a coffin."
G-Unit's Tony Yayo taunted and smacked the teen on a New York City street corner. Fletcher was also on hand, and later served jail time over the incident. The attack further escalated a long-running feud between 50 Cent's crew and Game, Rosemond's client and ex-G-unit member. Prior to Fletcher's murder, Rosemond reportedly tried three failed attacks against G-Unit, one of which occurred at New York's Hot 97 radio station.
According to Enzer, 33-year-old Fletcher was easy prey for Rosemond. Fletcher was coaxed to a Bronx street by associate Brian "Slim" McLeod, with whom he previously served jail time. "In the darkness of that Sunday night, Lowell Fletcher looked around for Slim," the prosecutor said. "But a man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt came out of the shadows, pointed a gun with a silencer and shot … round after round."
While McCleod carried out his part, Rosemond's reported cohort Rodney Johnson supervised shooter Derrick Grant, Enzer claimed. On the stand Monday, Fletcher's half-sister, Leta Bethel, recounted the day he died. "I got a phone call from a detective," she said. "The detectives told me that my brother was murdered and I just started crying."
McCleod and Grant were paid with $30,000 worth of cocaine for Fletcher's death. Both men and Johnson are incarcerated for the murder. Johnson also faces drug trafficking, in addition to murder-for-hire charges.
Defense lawyer J. Bruce Maffeo will question the "credibility" of testimony jurors will hear from McCleod and the rest in Rosemond's crew that copped plea deals in exchange for testifying against him.
Prosecutors said there is video footage and phone records that will show Rosemond set up Fletcher's murder.
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(Photo: Johnny Nunez/WireImage)