Czar Entertainment founder James Rosemond sentenced to life in prison for ordering the murder of Lowell Fletcher
NEW YORK – U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey S. Berman, announced that James Rosemond, aka “Jimmy the Henchman,” was sentenced today to life plus 30 years in prison for ordering the murder of Lowell Fletcher, aka “Lodi Mack.” A jury convicted Rosemond of murder-for-hire, conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, and firearms offenses following a nine-day retrial before U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who sentenced Rosemond.
“James Rosemond’s thirst for revenge following the assault of his son left 32-year-old Lowell Fletcher dead on a dark Bronx street," said U.S. Attorney Berman. "Our Office has fought for justice for Fletcher’s family for more than four years and through three jury trials. Now, Rosemond’s fate has been sealed and he has been sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison for this crime.”
According to court papers and the evidence at trial:
Rosemond, 53, of New York, N.Y., 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, aka “Tony Yayo,” and Lowell Fletcher 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 Sept. 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 Oct. 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.
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 U.S. 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, which began Nov. 6, 2017, and ended on Nov. 28, 2017, when a unanimous jury found Rosemond guilty of all the charges against him.
Mr. Berman 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.
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