Bail Reduced for Man Accused in Beverly Center Shooting

A judge Tuesday lowered bail to $2.1 million for an Atlanta man accused of gunning down a rapper at the Beverly Center hours after the musician arrived in Los Angeles to work on his first release.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Terry Bork reduced Aubrey Louis Berry's bail from $5 million, saying he thought the lower bail amount was appropriate.

The 23-year-old entertainment promoter is charged with murder in the May 18 shooting death of rapper Roderick Burton, who went by the stage name Dolla.

Berry also is charged with two counts of assault with a firearm for allegedly firing at two other people who were with the 21-year-old rapper.

In arguing for his client's bail to be lowered, defense attorney Howard R. Price told the judge that his client is a college graduate with no prior arrests who fired in self-defense because he believed the rapper -- with whom
he had recently had a confrontation at an Atlanta nightclub -- was trying to get a gun after following him out to the valet parking area.

Berry's attorney, who has repeatedly said the shooting is not a case of murder, called it a "terrible coincidence" that the the two men wound up at the same time at P.F. Chang's China Bistro.

Price -- who asked for $1 million bail -- said his client was "distraught" and "scared" after the shooting and "made the mistake of going to the airport" where he was arrested with a gun.

"He's no more a danger to this community than Phil Spector," Price said of the record producer, who was free on $1 million bail before he was convicted last month of second-degree murder.

Deputy District Attorney Bobby Grace countered that Burton was shot four times and that eight bullet casings were found at the scene before Berry fled in his rented SUV.

"I can't understand why he believed that he needed to fire a weapon at the Beverly Center," Grace said.

The deputy district attorney also questioned why Berry fled the scene rather than staying to explain what had happened.

Price conceded that his client -- who was taken into custody about 6:15 p.m. that day by police at Los Angeles International Airport -- should have remained at the scene.

The defense attorney said Berry has a concealed weapon permit issued either by the state of Georgia or the city of Atlanta. Berry believed the permit allowed him to carry a concealed weapon in California as he does in Georgia, Price said.

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