Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that JAMES ROSEMOND, a/k/a “Jimmy the Henchman,” was found guilty last night of murder-for-hire, conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, and firearms offenses for ordering the murder of Lowell Fletcher, a/k/a “Lodi Mack.” The jury convicted ROSEMOND on all counts in the controlling indictment following a nine-day retrial before United States District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan.
Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “James Rosemond’s team of hitmen assassinated Lowell Fletcher as payback for an assault on Rosemond’s son. Rosemond’s defense at trial – that he hired these men to shoot Fletcher, but did not intend for Fletcher to be killed – was swiftly and unanimously rejected by the jury. Justice for Fletcher’s family has been a long time coming, in part because of a hung jury and an overturned conviction in two prior trials, but that thanks to the unwavering commitment and tireless work of the detectives, agents, and prosecutors on this case, it is finally here.”
According to court papers and the evidence at trial:
JAMES ROSEMOND was the founder of Czar Entertainment, a rap music management company, and also the head of a large-scale cocaine trafficking organization. In March 2007, members and associates of a rival rap music group known as “G-Unit,” including Marvin Bernard, a/k/a “Tony Yayo,” and Lowell Fletcher, a/k/a “Lodi Mack,” assaulted ROSEMOND’s son. ROSEMOND’s son was not seriously injured in the assault, and Fletcher ended up serving prison time for his involvement in the assault. Nevertheless, in 2009, ROSEMOND recruited a crew of men to murder Fletcher upon his release from prison by promising at least $30,000 in payment for killing Fletcher. At ROSEMOND’s direction, members of the murder crew selected a dark and secluded location for the murder in the vicinity of Mount Eden and Jerome Avenues in the Bronx, and lured Fletcher to that spot. When Fletcher arrived there in the evening on September 27, 2009, a member of the murder crew stepped out of the shadows and fired five bullets into Fletcher’s back and arms using ROSEMOND’s .22 caliber handgun with a silencer. Fletcher died later that night. On October 2, 2009, ROSEMOND had a trusted employee of his cocaine organization provide a kilogram of cocaine – worth about $30,000 in street value – to a member of his murder crew as payment for the murder.
For his role in ordering, planning, and paying for the murder of Lowell Fletcher, ROSEMOND was convicted of one count of substantive murder-for-hire, one count of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, and two firearms counts. ROSEMOND faces a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison. ROSEMOND is scheduled to be sentenced on March 13, 2018, before Judge Kaplan.
At the conclusion of ROSEMOND’s first trial, in February and March 2014, a mistrial was declared after the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on the counts against ROSEMOND relating to the murder-for-hire of Fletcher. At ROSEMOND’s second trial in December 2014, ROSEMOND was convicted on all counts. On appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, ROSEMOND argued in part that his conviction in this murder-for-hire case should be overturned because certain rulings by the trial court effectively barred him from advancing a line of defense that ROSEMOND wanted to pursue – namely, ROSEMOND’s claim that although he ordered hitmen to shoot Fletcher, he did not intend for the shooting to result in Fletcher’s death. In November 2016, the Second Circuit vacated ROSEMOND’s conviction and remanded the case for a new trial. The case was reassigned to Judge Kaplan for retrial. ROSEMOND presented that defense at this third trial, which began on November 6, 2017, and ended on November 28, 2017, when a unanimous jury found ROSEMOND guilty of all the charges against him.
Acting U.S. Attorney Kim thanked and praised the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the New York City Police Department, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Marshals Service for their persistence and outstanding work in this investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit. The trial was conducted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Samson Enzer, Drew Skinner, and Elizabeth Hanft.