Kid Cali’s killer sentenced to 50 years to life in prison

Kid Cali was fatally shot in 2016.
(Vivien Killilea / WireImage)

An Inglewood man was sentenced Wednesday to 50 years to life in prison for the 2016 murder of rapper Kid Cali.

Kenny Birdine, then 19, fatally shot Cali at a massive summertime pool party in Granada Hills. Cali, whose real name was Justin Lishey, was struck several times and died at a Mission Hills hospital.

Hundreds in August 2016 attended the “Millions of Models Mansion Pool Party,” which had been heavily promoted on social media. But in the aftermath of the shooting, which injured two other people, many witnesses fled the scene before police arrived. Officials relied on security camera video to aid in their investigation, ending in the arrest of Birdine.

“There is plenty of video,” LAPD Deputy Chief Bob Green said at the time. “There is probably 60 hours plus. Some is good quality and some is poor.”


Less than a month after Cali’s death, Birdine was charged with murder, using a firearm to cause bodily injury and committing a gang-related crime.

Cali’s parents were in court to see justice meted out to their son’s killer.

“The mother and father of the victim gave a heartfelt testimony for their son,” said Deputy David Furedi, a bailiff at the San Fernando courthouse where the trial was held.

Dorthea Devilla, a friend of Cali’s who attended the party, said at the time that she was standing nearby when the shooting began. She said a man approached Cali and tried to shake his hand, but the recording artist declined.


“We heard shots and everyone ran,” Devilla said. “He was talking, with a gunshot wound in his shoulder, his back and hand, and I tried to keep him awake,” she said.

At the hospital, doctors found more gunshot wounds and internal bleeding, and Cali’s condition quickly turned critical, she said.

The artist previously had a contract with NFL player DeSean Jackson’s record label.

Times staff writer Richard Winton contributed to this report.


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