LOS ANGELES : Judge Refuses to Dismiss Rapper's Murder Charges

A judge refused Thursday to throw out murder charges against rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg, his bodyguard and another man, but said he would instruct jurors that evidence was destroyed because ofpolice negligence.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Paul Flynn said lawyers for the rapper, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, and co-defendants McKinley Lee and Sean Abrams failed to show that evidence from the Aug. 25, 1993, killing of Philip Waldermariam was destroyed on purpose. The judge sided with prosecutors, who contended that the victim's bloody clothes, a bullet and a shell casing were accidentally ordered destroyed by a police clerk who was new to the department computer system.

"So I think the case will go forward with some instruction, not that [the evidence] was destroyed intentionally, but that it was destroyed because of the negligence of the Los Angeles Police Department," Flynn said.

Flynn set an Aug. 1 trial date after summoning O.J. Simpson's lead defense lawyer, Johnnie Cochran Jr., to ask whether Cochran would be ready by then to defend Abrams. Cochran told Flynn he is "optimistic" that Simpson's case will be over by mid-August.

Prosecutors allege that Lee, Abrams and the rapper pulled up to Waldermariam in a Jeep, and Lee then shot him in the back. Broadus was at the wheel, according to police.

Prosecutors contend that the incident was gang-related.

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