The prosecution told the jury that the lyrics reflect what they say happened when Noah Williams, aka Spinabenz, was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — On the second day of Jacksonville rapper Noah Williams’ trial, the prosecution presented his music for the first time, despite arguments from his attorneys.
Williams is charged with possession of a firearm as a convicted felon and police-certified gang member. He faces up to 15 years for this charge. If found guilty, the trial will enter a separate sentencing phase to decide whether the charges will be bolstered due to Williams’ alleged gang ties.
Williams, whose rap name is Spinabenz, is best known for his viral song “Who I Smoke,” which references the names of several Jacksonville murder victims. But this is a gun case, and the jury heard a different song, called “My Glock.” Today, prosecutors told jurors the lyrics reflected what they said happened in the alleged 2021 crime, including that his girlfriend bought him a Glock for $300 (the lyrics being: ‘J spent 300 on my Glock”).
RELATED: Spinabenz trial day one: Jury sees body camera footage of traffic stop, cops speak up
Williams’ lawyers fought to keep the song out of evidence, but it was cleared by Judge Jeb Branhem, who is overseeing the case, and the prosecution was able to play the song for the courtroom.
Detective Thompson of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Department said he heard the song several times during his investigation of Williams and heard him rap “hundreds of times”.
Williams’ attorney David Bigney argued that the number 300 is merely a lyrical device in the song and that the lyrics do not relate to the case.
“300 for a drum? 300,762? So this 300 is more of a hook. It’s the hook of the song, the 300,” Bigney said. “Because it’s mentioned over and over again.”
Thompson said he thought the song was on point. “I mean, he mentions the Glock and other ammunition,” he said.
“He also mentions a plane and a lot of things that have nothing to do with this case,” Bigney replied.
The defense also questioned whether it could be proven that the song was written during a relevant period, or that Williams wrote the song at all.
“Do you know when the lyrics to this song were written? Brigney asked, to which Thompson said he guessed it was 2021, as the song was posted to YouTube in November 2021.
RELATED: Jacksonville Rapper Spinabenz on Trial on Gun Charges; prosecutors presented these music videos as evidence
“It’s important that you don’t guess,” Bigney replied. He said it could have taken years to write, edit, produce and distribute the song, and the witness had no evidence to the contrary.
Thompson admitted that his only “experience” with the music industry was listening to music throughout his life.
The rest of the day focused on DNA evidence, with several DNA experts speaking.
Defense seeks acquittal
Late Tuesday, Williams’ lawyers asked Judge Branhem to acquit him, citing lack of evidence.
The prosecution case rests on the account that Williams asked his girlfriend to buy him a gun. She was the registered owner of a Glock recovered from a traffic stop, where she was driving and Williams was in the passenger seat. The Glock was confiscated and Williams’ DNA was later found on the gun, which the prosecution says proves it was his gun.
An officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, Officer Justin Peppers, testified that he noticed Williams’ shirt being pulled up at the traffic stop and that he believed Williams pulled the gun from his belt. Assistant State’s Attorney Lauren Anderson said it was integral to the prosecution’s case.
The last two days in court have seen a litany of police officers and employees from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, as well as an expert witness from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, who helped process the Glock for DNA evidence. . Witnesses said the vehicle and the Glock were not processed for fingerprints during the traffic stop. Witnesses also said 12% of the Glock’s DNA belonged to Williams, which his lawyers agree. This technically makes him a “minor contributor”, although it takes a significant amount of DNA to create this figure.
Following this testimony, Bigney asked the judge to grant a motion for acquittal in the case. He argued no one has been able to pinpoint when Williams’ DNA ended up on the gun, meaning it couldn’t be proven he removed the gun. of his belt that night.
“No witnesses saw my client with a gun,” Bigney said. During opening statements, he promised jurors they would not hear from any witnesses who could testify to seeing Williams with the gun, and so far that has proven true.
Judge Branhem denied the request. The hearing will resume Wednesday morning with closing arguments.