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Swedish rapper's defense in road rage killing is 'laughable,' prosecutor says

A Los Angeles jury is set to begin deliberations today in the case of a Swedish hip-hop artist accused of murdering a pedestrian during a 2008 confrontation in a Hollywood crosswalk.

David Jassy, 35, a rapper and music producer who has worked with pop acts including Ashley Tisdale, faces a potential life sentence if convicted in the death of John Osnes, a 55-year-old jazz pianist.

Prosecutors contend that Jassy became enraged when Osnes, a stickler for pedestrian rights, struck at the hood of Jassy's rental SUV as it drifted into the crosswalk. Jassy responded, prosecutors say, by leaping from his vehicle, punching and kicking Osnes and then running over his body.

Jassy maintains that “crazy” behavior by Osnes put him in fear for his life and the life of his girlfriend, a passenger in the vehicle. He testified that Osnes threw the first punch and insisted that he was unaware he drove over Osnes’ body as he fled the scene.

In closing arguments Wednesday, a prosecutor urged jurors, who have the choice of acquitting Jassy of all criminal culpability in Osnes’ death or finding him guilty of murder or manslaughter, to return a verdict of first-degree murder.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Sarika Kapoor called Jassy’s account of the encounter “laughable.” “What person gets out of their locked vehicle when they are scared? That makes no sense,” she said. Defense attorney Alec Rose addressed the jury only briefly Wednesday afternoon before court recessed for the day. He called Jassy “an innocent man” and said the evidence supported his acquittal.

-- Harriet Ryan

Read more about John Osnes -- including links to past stories on the case -- on The Times' Homicide Report

Comments () | Archives (19)

Jassey made a huge mistake. I think he was trying to impress his girlfriend. It's not a stretch to hit the hood of a car that misses you by inches. He brutally killed that man...then ran him over? 1st degree murder! That man is dead b/c he tried to defend his Hip Hop status. Fool.

I'll tell you what's laughable: A swedish rapper! Hahahahaha

John Osnes deserved what he got there was no reason to strike the hood of the vehicle, and yelling at the driver...he instigated the action and it turned out badly, actions have consequences...if he had a problem with how the driver was driving why didn't he simply open up his cell and call 911 and have the police take care of it...

The only reason this case is going so far is because it's a so-called minority who killed a Caucasian man if this was a Caucasian and Caucasian scenario...it would have been labeled self-defense...

sb45, what world are you living in? John Osnes "deserved what he got"... "actions have consequences"... what?! Since when does striking the hood of a vehicle warrant kicking someone in the head and running them over. Did you consider asking yourself why John struck the vehicle? Did it occur to you that the SUV likely almost struck his body? Jassy's reaction is nothing but inordinate to striking the hood of a car. Absolutely no one deserves to be murdered for this.

Why did he feel the need to strike someone else's vehicle...there's no reason to do that...as I said call 911 and have the police deal with it... what entitled little world was he living in...what compelled him to disrespect someone else's property like that...it's lunacy this guy is still in jail

Jassy may be a minority in Sweden (He's actually half-Estonian) but he is not a minority at the intersection of Selma Avenue and Schrader Boulevard. I hope the jury sees through him.

Why doesn't Jassy admit that he was in a state of psychosis from sleep deprivation and drugs.

Would his dealer be subject to prosecution for the homicide Jassy committed when Jassy was under influence of drugs supplied to him?

Has Jassy already been threatened to not use that most plausible defense?

Or did he know from the get-go that his strategy would be
go for the appeal and retrial due to gross incompetence by his criminal defense attorney?

sb45, you're moron! You must NOT be white which would by why you HAVE to use the fact the the pedestrian was white. How many times have you seen a car almost hit a person? A reflex would be to hit the car to tell them to stop. Either way, nothing anyone does gives them permission to be murdered...except maybe murder!

Get over yourself!

sb45, don't disgrace yourself or your ethnic group by trying to play the race card in this instance. It sounds way too weak, "laughable" even..


Isn't also reflexive to get out of your car and check for damages when you hear something hit it...especially a rental...then you get out and you have this maniac screaming at you and getting in your face...isn't it reflexive to defend yourself and try to get out of there as quick as possible...especially if one is in a foreign country...

It's ridiculous this guy is still in jail

sb45, with that logic, I should be able to legally kick your *** because I was offended by your post.

The rapper was stupid and "deserves whatever "he" gets." I don't know that the rappper is anything other than caucasian, being from Sweden. It's this type of overreaction that's got the prison's full.

@sb45: You'll be doing yourself and the world a favor if you pledge to never use a fork but only spoons from now on.

sb45 has a point. This is America. We're free and we have the right to defend ourselves even with a gun if necessary. You can't go around striking hoods of cars. We don't know the whole scenario. The article says Osnes was a "a stickler for pedestrian rights", sounds like he was "that" guy that walked around like he owned the streets yelling and banging on cars when HE thought drivers weren't yielding to his cause. He didn't deserve to die. That's for sure but, he suffered an unfortunate consequence for his actions. I wouldn't go as far as 1st degree murder. Manslaughter at the maximum with minimal jail time and an appropriate fine.

i just looked at the Swede constitution and I can't find anything about a right to a defence there. pretty good constitution but no right to a defence. seriously would you go to a foreign country and beat up someone in a traffic dispute?

If this guy was white (which is the first thing one thinks when ya see swedish) he would be gone no question. the only reason this is in the news is he had a little bit of fame. so ya World, america doesnt need more rappers or 'roid heads. i think we have plenty of those. seriosly we dont need german rappers.

I think sb45 is from Sweden, where you can get away with this kind of actions, because the court feels sorry for you and think you deserve a new chance.
This is also what some (Swedish) people expected in this case.

Maybe the Swedish government should inform its citizens upon travel abroad, that other contries (may) have real sentences?

You ppl really got a lot of opinions about a country you know NOTHING about.. Hell, about a whole world you know nothing about.

And wow.. That's actually somewhat true, hedonist.. It is somewhat laughable - or atleast this guy is. But of course, it's not nearly as laughable as "american intelligence", which is a rare things indeed.

And as for this fool.. Who cares? Another day, another murder, and another guy going to jail for life (or a really long time), looks well deserved this time atleast. Let him rot.. I sure don't have a problem with it as a Swede.. Especially not since you'll be picking up the bill this time. :)

But yeah.. maybe you can turn him over to us instead and we'll just give him a hug, flowers and a weekend at the spa/jail because you just KNOW that's how it is over here? Right?

Ignorance sure must be blissful.

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA "i was worried for my girlfriends safety from that pedestrian!" "i was unaware i ran him over"


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