An amateur rapper who wrote about smashing someone’s head like a tin can was acquitted Tuesday of murder and robbery charges stemming from a killing in Bakersfield where the victim died from a severe injury to his head.
A jury found Michael Emory Johnson not guilty on all charges following a weeklong trial and his release was expected within hours. His public defender, Mark Aguilar, said Johnson was very emotional and broke down in tears when the verdicts were announced.
Johnson, 21, had faced the possibility of life in prison if convicted of killing Jesus Torres, 28.
Aguilar said the prosecution built its case on circumstantial evidence to try to prove Johnson killed Torres with a single blow from a baseball bat or bottle.
In the court filings, investigators mentioned the violent rap songs Johnson wrote, some focused on beating people in the head.
“Karate kick, knock his melon off,” Johnson raps in one song, investigators said. “Click in till he (unintelligible), smash his head like a tin can, beat the kiddie up till he’s asleep and he’s leakin,” he says in another.
Aguilar said some of Johnson’s songs are about beating people, others are about shootings and “all manner of violent acts and nonsense.” But he said those songs are just an act to build street credibility and attract listeners.
“Rap is entertainment,” Aguilar said.