Proof Shooting Suspect Charged, But Not With Murder
Mon, 17 Apr 2006 14:57:23
Mario Etheridge, a 28-year-old bouncer at Detroit's CCC Club, has been charged with carrying a concealed weapon and discharging a firearm inside an occupied building. He has not, however, been charged with murder, even though he remains the lead suspect in the shooting death of D12 rapper Proof last week.
Etheridge entered a not guilty plea in response to the charges, but remains behind bars, unable to meet the $70,000 bail the judge set in his case. His attorney, Randall Upshaw, denounced both the bail amount and the charges, deeming them "unfair" and "ridiculous."
"If he discharged the weapon wrongfully and killed someone, charge him with a homicide or an assault," Upshaw told the Detroit Free Press. "If he didn't discharge it wrongfully, don't charge him." Upshaw continued to maintain his client's innocence, noting that "if it wasn't for Proof trying to harm someone, we wouldn't be here today."
Eyewitness accounts so far have led police to conclude that Proof did in fact start the gun battle, by pistol whipping 35-year-old Keith Bender, then shooting him once in the head. It's believed that Etheridge then fired upon Proof to prevent him from shooting Bender again. Proof was struck three times in the face and chest and pronounced dead on arrival at a nearby hospital about an hour later.
Police have been quick to point out that their investigation is ongoing and that further charges against Etheridge may be filed. If convicted under the current charges, Etheridge faces a maximum of nine years behind bars.
A public viewing for Proof (real name: Deshaun Holton) will be held from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday (April 18th) at Detroit's Fellowship Chapel under extremely heavy security. A private funeral service is scheduled for Wednesday.
--The ARTISTdirect Staff