McKinley ‘Mac’ Phipps is widely considered one of the best rappers on No Limit’s roster when the tank was churning out gold and platinum records in the late ’90s and early 2000s. After 21 years behind bars on a manslaughter charge he feels he was unjustly tried for, Mac is one step closer to coming home.
According to the Huffington Post, the Louisiana Parole Board voted unanimously to grant Phipps clemency. A jury found Phipps guilty in 2001 of manslaughter after a concertgoer, 19-year-old Barron “Bookie” Victor Jr. was shot at a nightclub in St. Tammany Parish. Phipps maintained his innocence throughout the trial and the case and investigations into his trial by podcasts such as NPR’s Louder Than A Riot and investigative journalists found flaws in his case.
The Louisiana Board of Pardons and Parole on Monday (February 22) voted unanimously for Phipps to be released immediately from prison. The decision now rests in the hands of Louisiana Governor Jon Bel Edwards to sign-off. Phipps then would still have to appear in front of the parole board one more time before he is finally released.
“I thank you all, and thank you for the opportunity,” Mac told the parole board. His parents were brought to tears once all members of the parole board rendered their decision.
There is no timetable on when Edwards will render his decision on Phipp’s release.
In 2000, Phipps, then 22, was among the bright stars on No Limit’s roster, including going gold with his album Shell Shocked and helping create the cult classic “I Can Tell” with the 504 Boyz. He was performing at Club Mercedes to perform when Victor was shot and killed after a fight broke out in the club.
“During his stay at Elayn Hunt Correctional, McKinley has served as a certified mentor for a number of groups, was appointed and maintained trustee status, volunteered with the mental health and hospice units, served as the president of the Music Association, completed several self-improvement courses, and began his college studies,” Angelique Phipps, Mac’s wife, said in a statement read at Monday’s hearing.
Over the course of his trial, evidence which helped Phipps’ case was not admitted during trial, including DNA and forensic evidence, the confession by another man to the crime and multiple witnesses who said they were pressured into lying in order to convict Phipps. Additionally, Mac’s lyrics were used against him at trial in an attempt to present him as a cold-blooded killer.
Now all eyes move to Governor Edwards as Mac awaits to be fully free.