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Hip-hop artist asks judge to reduce murder charge

June 17, 2009 |  1:18 pm


The attorney for a hip-hop artist accused of beating a jazz pianist to death in what’s been called a real-life version of the film “Crash” asked today that charges be reduced from murder to manslaughter.

In papers filed in L.A. County Superior Court, the lawyer suggested that David Jassy, a 35-year-old Swedish citizen who recorded with Ashley Tisdale and other pop acts, acted in self-defense when he punched and kicked John Osnes, 55, during a November confrontation in a Hollywood crosswalk.

“A motorist is not required to sit passively in his vehicle while a pedestrian strikes the vehicle and yells at him, and wait and see if the stranger’s anger escalates,” lawyer Alec Rose wrote.

According to witnesses, Osnes, a pedestrian, struck the hood of Jassy’s SUV after it came close to hitting him as he attempted to cross the street.The witnesses said Jassy exited his vehicle, hit Osnes with his fist, kicked him in the head and then drove over him.

A judge previously ruled that the kick alone demonstrated the malice required for a murder charge, but Rose wrote that it was part of Jassy’s larger attempt to protect himself, his female passenger and his vehicle.

“There is no requirement for a person exercising self-defense to stop and reassess after every single move whether the antagonist has given up,” he wrote.

Witnesses have told police that Jassy quarreled with his girlfriend just before the incident and became angry when Osnes touched his rented vehicle. A judge is to rule on the motion next month.

-- Harriet Ryan

Photo: Rapper David Jassy, at a preliminary hearing in March, is charged with murder in the death of a pedestrian in a confrontation in Hollywood in November. Credit: Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press