Detroit man imprisoned up to 40 years in French artist's slaying

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 12, 2015 11:26 AM

(Reuters) - A judge on Friday sentenced a man to up to 40 years in prison in the killing of a 23-year-old French street artist in Detroit, prosecutors said.

Jasin Curtis, 18, of Detroit, had pleaded guilty in May to second degree murder and was sentenced to 25 to 40 years in prison in the killing of Bilal Berreni, who was found shot dead in 2013 in a vacant high-rise building near downtown Detroit.

Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Bruce Morrow also sentenced Curtis to two years on a firearms conviction to be served consecutively to the murder sentence, prosecutors said. Both sentences were recommendations from a plea agreement.

Curtis and two other men were charged with murder, armed robbery and firearms violations in Berreni's death, a Paris native who was known by the street moniker "Zoo Project."

Berreni began painting murals in his Paris neighborhood at age 15. Before he went to Detroit, Berreni traveled and painted murals in Tunisia in 2011.

Police have said the three men were losing money in a dice game when they decided to rob someone and found Berreni nearby. His body was found in July 2013, but not identified for several months.

The trials of Drequone Rich, 21, and Dionte Travis, 18, are scheduled to begin in September. Both are charged with felony murder and other charges.

(Reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis; Editing by Lisa Lambert)