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Archive for Saturday, March 4, 2006

Rapper’s arrest exposes Midwest-West feud

Violence dates back to at least late 2004 in Kansas City, Mo.

March 4, 2006

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— A double slaying in May that led to the arrest of a rap figure in California stemmed from a feud between Midwest and West Coast music industry groups, authorities said Friday.

But police said they didn't know if the arrest late Thursday in San Francisco of Andre "Mac Minister" Dow, 35, would reveal links to other local cases or signal an end to a spate of violence dating to at least late 2004 in Kansas City, Mo.

"Rappers of prominence are getting killed," Las Vegas homicide Lt. Lewis Roberts said. "We don't know if it's over or not."

Dow, who has been identified as a suspect in a third slaying in California, was arrested Thursday in San Francisco on a federal warrant charging him with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, authorities said.

Clark County Dist. Atty. David Roger said Friday that he will seek Dow's extradition for trial in Las Vegas.

Dow is believed to have fled to the Bay Area after his indictment Nov. 2 on two counts of murder and two counts of conspiracy to commit murder in the May 23 killings of Kansas City rapper Anthony "Fat Tone" Watkins, 24, and Jermaine "Cowboy" Akins, 22.

A Las Vegas police affidavit seeking an arrest warrant calls the slayings revenge for the November 2004 drive-by slaying in Kansas City of California rapper Andre "Mac Dre" Hicks, 34.

Watkins was considered a person of interest in Hicks' slaying, but had not been named a suspect.

Surveillance cameras videotaped Dow, Watkins and Akins walking out of the MGM Grand hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip late May 22, about 80 minutes before Watkins and Akins were shot numerous times with an assault rifle as they sat in a car in a cul-de-sac in a residential construction site, according to the affidavit.

Another man, Jason Mathis, 26, an aspiring rap promoter, also has been charged in the slayings. He was arrested July 12, has pleaded not guilty and is being held at Clark County jail in Las Vegas awaiting trial.

Mathis owned the AK-47 used in the slayings, according to police. He also was accused of being a pimp for Lee Danae Laursen, a former Payson, Utah, resident who owned a white Pontiac Sunfire seen leaving the cul-de-sac after the shooting.

The car was found burned in Vallejo, Calif., two days after the slaying.

Laursen, 21, was shot to death Nov. 4 in Fairfield, Calif., and police there have identified Dow as a suspect.

Dow, a music promoter who has appeared on rap albums, allegedly fled to the Bay Area after his indictment in Las Vegas in November.

His case was featured on the television crime show "America's Most Wanted" in February.

Dow also made headlines five years ago, when he and another rapper brawled at the nationally televised Source Awards show in Pasadena, Calif.

Roberts said police are investigating whether the July 21 slaying of 28-year-old Keith R. Jett outside a makeshift music studio in east Las Vegas and the June 2 slaying of rap artist Roosevelt "Mister Looks" Hines, 34, and another man outside another studio across town had a connection with the Midwest-West Coast feud.

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