Tuesday marked the beginning of the trial for the man accused of fatally shooting up-and-coming Atlanta rapper Slim Dunkin.
The rapper, born Mario Hamilton, was a well-known protégé of Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka Flame and said to be a member of the Bloods street gang. He was killed in December 2011 after being gunned down at a southeast Atlanta recording studio.
Shots were fired after Hamilton and fellow Atlanta rapper Young Vito got into a physical altercation which supposedly started over a piece of candy. Vito, born Vinson Hardimon, claims he saw a gun at Hamilton’s waist.
Hardimon’s attorney says his client was aiming for Hamilton’s thigh when he fired but “unfortunately he hit him in the abdomen.”
“This is not a whodunit,” assistant district attorney Linda Dunikoski said. “This case is very simple. It’s about a man who brought a gun to a fistfight he started.”
According to the incident report, Hamilton took a piece of candy that belonged to Hardimon. A verbal outburst from Hardimon soon followed and Hamilton began rapping about a man with dreadlocks.
Attorneys say Hamilton allegedly rapped, “I’m gonna put two (bullets) in his head” and pointed at Hardimon, moments before his death.
Hardimon, who has locks, took offense and began swinging at Hamilton. Witnesses say Hardimon produced a gun and shot Hamilton dead stating, “I ain’t got time to be playing games.”
Hardimon turned himself in to Atlanta police 10 days after the shooting, saying he feared retaliation.
Hardimon told his attorney he felt his life was threatened. His attorney is arguing self-defense, citing the fact that Hamilton was nine inches taller than his client.
Police never recovered the murder weapon or shell casings. Prosecutors believe someone cleaned up the studio before police arrived at the crime scene.
Hardimon has been charged with murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
According to public records, Hardimon has a lengthy criminal record, which includes cruelty to children and aggravated assault charges.