(By Josephine Harvey for HuffPost) Rapper McKinley Phipps Jr., who has been imprisoned for 21 years and one day for a crime he claims he did not commit, may soon be granted clemency following a Louisiana parole board’s unanimous vote that he be released.
Phipps, known to hip-hop fans as “Mac,” was convicted in 2001 of manslaughter in the shooting of 19-year-old concertgoer Barron “Bookie” Victor Jr. at a nightclub in St. Tammany Parish. Phipps’ legal team has battled to commute his 30-year sentence after a series of investigative reports from former HuffPost reporter David Lohr exposed flaws in his conviction.
The Louisiana Board of Pardons and Parole recommended Monday that Phipps be made eligible immediately for parole. It now goes to the desk of Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) for sign-off. If approved, Phipps will need to appear before the parole board one more time.
“Today’s been a good day. It’s kind of the beginning of the road to freedom, but there’s still some more bases to go.” McKinley’s wife, Angelique Phipps, told HuffPost. “It’s a start. One step closer.”
“Not only is this amazing for us, but I believe that it also provides hope for those in comparable situations. Our goal is in sight, and we will get to the finish line,” she said.
Though there’s no timeline for the governor’s decision, Phipps’s family is optimistic that it will be prompt while concerns remain high about the spread of COVID-19 in prison facilities.
“This governor is incredibly fair. He does seem to do what’s right when it comes to reforming the criminal justice system here,” Angelique Phipps said.
Angelique was present at Monday’s hearing ― held remotely through Zoom due to the pandemic ― as were her husband’s parents, Sheila and McKinley Phipps. Phipps Sr. grew visibly emotional after the board made its decision. Read the full story here.