An associate of Baton Rouge rap artist NBA YoungBoy was indicted Thursday on a second-degree murder count in the 2017 shooting death of rival local rapper Gee Money.
Deandre Fields, 26, of New Roads, is accused of killing Gee Money, whose real name is Garrett Burton, in a parking lot outside Burton's music studio on Dallas Drive in Baton Rouge in September 2017.
Fields was arrested in June 2019 in the killing of Burton, who performed with the TBG (Top Boy Gorilla) group. NBA YoungBoy, whose real name is Kentrell Gaulden, founded the NBA (Never Broke Again) group.
Music insiders have long speculated about the widespread impacts of an ongoing feud between two Baton Rouge rappers and their associates.
Fields' arrest warrant provided insight into what started the beef between Burton, 22, and Gaulden, 21.
Burton released a song that contained "derogatory lyrics" about Gaulden's sister. Gaulden responded with a social media post and then the dissing escalated from there, the warrant says.
Burton said in an August 2017 interview with the blog SayCheeseTV that Gaulden had "got the big head" after some success and the two probably would never make music together — in part because of the drama involving Gaulden's sister. Burton also acknowledged that rappers will seek out criminal activity to gain attention from fans.
He was killed the following month.
"In the days prior to Burton's death, both Burton and Gaulden made several social media posts about one another, which further exacerbated tensions between the two rival rap music groups," detectives wrote in the warrant. "When Burton was killed, members of the NBA group were immediately developed as suspects due to … the ongoing rap music feud."
Police interviewed Fields on Sept. 13, 2017 — three days after Burton's death — and he recounted telling his mother to leave their home because "he feared retaliation." He said he left Baton Rouge with his mother and son and went to New Roads after Burton was killed.
He also told detectives he drove to Hammond "to get gas" on the night of Sept. 10, 2017, according to the warrant. Detectives later obtained Fields' phone records, which showed he was not in Hammond the night of Burton's death, but was actually in Baton Rouge.
When police asked Fields who among his friends would shoot people for the NBA group, he replied: "To be honest, me." He also referred to "problems in the streets."
Detectives found shell casings about a month later on Jefferson Avenue that matched those collected at the scene of Burton's death, according to the warrant. Authorities believe Fields "arranged to rid himself of the firearm that killed Garrett Burton" by giving it to another group of people who live on Jefferson Avenue. Fields' phone records indicate he called members of that group in the hours after Burton's death.
Fields faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison if convicted as charged in Burton's death. The case has been assigned to state District Judge Beau Higginbotham.
After learning of the indictment of Fields, Gaulden's attorney, James Manasseh, said, "As far as I know there's never been any insinuation that Kentrell had any involvement in this situation."
Gun violence has continued to follow members of both Burton's and Gaulden's parties. Several cases remain unsolved.
Gaulden's agent, Desmond "Dump" Hardnett, was fatally shot in May 2018. No suspects have been identified in that case.
Another local rapper, Blvd Quick, was shot to death just months later in November 2018. Authorities have said they're investigating whether he was targeted because of his affiliation with Burton. Both were members of TBG.
Fields' arrest came less than a month after a deadly Mother's Day 2019 shootout outside a Miami hotel involving Gaulden's entourage. Gaulden's girlfriend was shot in the shoulder.
Authorities said gunmen opened fire on Gaulden's group and legally armed members of his entourage returned fire, resulting in the death of a bystander — a Hertz rental car employee who was leaving work when he got caught in the crossfire.
Authorities are investigating whether that incident is also tied to the longstanding feud.
Fields himself was shot last April in Baton Rouge, and local rapper Lit Yoshi, whose real name is Mieyoshi Edwards, is charged with attempted murder in that shooting. Edwards, 22, is a known TBG member, authorities have said.
A Baton Rouge judge refused Monday to revoke or increase a local rapper's $1.82 million bond on seven attempted first-degree murder counts aft…
Edwards is currently free on a $1.82 million bond on seven attempted first-degree murder counts stemming from the April shooting and another shooting on July 4. Those incidents left three adults and two young children injured.
Law enforcement officers testified at Edwards' bond hearing in late July that those shootings were the result of the ongoing feud between the rival TBG and NBA rap groups. Officers described the groups as gangs.
Burton and Gaulden grew up together in Baton Rouge and both gained national recognition for their music.
A 22-year-old local rapper was shot to death early Sunday on Dallas Drive, Baton Rouge police said.
Gaulden and 15 others were arrested in September on drug and gun counts while creating a music video in Baton Rouge. They have not been formally charged.
Gaulden was given a suspended 10-year prison term in August 2017 and put on probation for three years after he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault with a firearm in a 2016 nonfatal shooting.
A Baton Rouge state judge decided in December 2019 that Gaulden had served enough time under court supervision and released him, which ended his probation.