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TEEN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR KILLING TROOPER

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A Houston teenage gang member was sentenced to death Wednesday after a jury rejected defense arguments that rap music prompted the 19-year-old to kill a state trooper.

Ronald Ray Howard was convicted June 8 of shooting trooper Bill Davidson on a country road in southeast Texas in April 1992.The trooper stopped Howard, who was driving a stolen car, because he was driving with a broken headlight.

Twice during the six days of deliberation the jury reported it was deadlocked but finally reached a decision Wednesday morning.

Defense attorney Allan Tanner conceded early in the trial that Howard had shot Davidson, but he appealed to the jury to give Howard a life sentence.

Tanner argued Howard's upbringing in a Houston inner city neighborhood and his addiciton to "gangster rap" influenced Howard's actions.

Police said Howard, a convicted car thief and drug dealer, was listening to a music tape by rapper Tupac Shakur just moments before shooting Davidson.

Linda Davidson, the trooper's widow, is suing Shakur, his record label, Los Angeles-based Interscope Records, and parent company Time Warner.

Her suit charges corporate irresponsibility and is expected to go to trial in Texas in January.