A rapper once being promoted as a rising star at a label run by Jay-Z was sentenced Wednesday to eight years in prison for taking part in a deadly attack on a man he said he didn't mean to harm.
Tru Life, born Robert Rosado, didn't speak as he was sentenced alongside older brother Marcus Rosado, who admitted stabbing Christopher Guerrero to death and wounding another man in a June 2009 fight that involved both brothers. Marcus Rosado, 39, pleaded guilty last month to manslaughter and got a 10-year sentence; Tru Life, 34, pleaded guilty to gang assault.
"Robert is extremely saddened by what happened. Mr. Guerrero did not deserve what happened to him," said the rapper's lawyer, Alan Abramson. Marcus Rosado offered his condolences to Guerrero's family.
The slain man's relatives blasted the sentences, set in plea bargains, as too light.
"Christopher, who was unarmed and defenseless, was attacked," said Jason Ramirez, the victim's brother. "We believe the system has failed us."
Through their lawyers, the Rosados said the 20-year-old Guerrero wasn't their intended target in violence that followed an argument at a nightclub and ultimately sprawled into an apartment building lobby.
The Rosados chased Guerrero and Jason Gray into the lobby, where Guerrero was stabbed in the abdomen and Gray suffered a cut that sliced an artery, according to court documents. They got outside and collapsed on the ground, court documents said.
Raised on Manhattan's Lower East Side, Tru Life made a name for himself on mixtapes and eventually made his way into Jay-Z's stable of rappers. Tru Life won over the rap titan in a scene chronicled in a 2005 New York Times article about Jay-Z, then head of Def Jam Records.
Tru Life was signed for a time and groomed to be a mainstay of Roc-La Familia, a Latin-oriented arm of Roc-A-Fella Records, a label Jay-Z co-founded.
But Tru Life also became known for feuding with other rappers, including duo Mobb Deep and Harlem-based rapper Jim Jones.