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Rapper witness changes his tune

Los Angeles (AP) - A prosecution witness in the murder trial of the rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg changed his story and said he could not have seen the crime clearly because he was high on marijuana and was not wearing his glasses.

The rapper (real name Calvin Broadus) and his bodyguard, McKinley Lee, are charged with the murder of Philip Woldemariam in 1993. Police sources claim Woldemariam, 20, and Mr Broadus, 24, had connections with different street gangs. The victim, a member of the By Yerself Hustlers, apparently resented Mr Broadus, listed as a member of the Long Beach Insane Crips, for moving into his neighbourhood during the recording of his hit record, Doggystyle. The defence says the shooting was done in self-defence.

Jose Luis Murillo told the court on Monday that he had been standing with his cousin, Cesar Serrano, who gave evidence last week, when Mr Broadus and Mr Lee drove by several times and then stopped at a park. Prosecutors said that supported their claim that the pair were looking for a fight.

Bobby Grace, for the prosecution, reminded Mr Murillo he had told police he saw a flash of light coming from the Jeep driven by the rapper as the gun went off.

"Did you actually see a flash?" Mr Grace asked Mr Murillo.

"No," Mr Murillo responded.

When asked why he gave contradictory information to police, Mr Murillo said: "It was all the excitement," a dding ha d merely repeated to police what Mr Serrano had told him he had seen.

Deputy District Attorney Ed Nison said he believes the witness may have changed his story because he feared reprisals from the rapper. "Every gang case I have put on, someone will get up and say, `I lied to the police'," Mr Nison said. "It's very typical of the situation."