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.