LOS ANGELES (AP) – A lawyer for the man accused of killing Dolla acknowledged that his client pulled the trigger Wednesday, but said he did it in self-defense.

Prosecutors charged Aubrey Louis Berry, 23, with murder and a pair of assault charges in connection with Monday’s shooting in a valet area at an upscale mall.

Berry made his first court appearance Wednesday afternoon and his bail was raised to $5 million. He postponed entering a plea until a Friday court hearing.

Berry’s attorney, Howard R. Price, said his client was acting in self-defense when he killed Dolla, 21, and fired at two other people.

Price said Berry feared for his life after he and Dolla, whose real name is Roderick Anthony Burton II, had an altercation at an Atlanta nightclub earlier this month.

Dolla, an Atlanta-based rapper and a protege of Akon, recently released two singles.

with his mentor: “Like This” and “She So Fine.”

Price said it was a coincidence that the two men ended up in the same city (Los Angeles), the same restaurant (P.F. Chang’s China Bistro) on the same day and at the same time. He said Burton, who was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport after the killing with a loaded 9mm handgun and a plane ticket, was trying to leave the city because he feared for his safety.

Price accused Burton and his entourage of being affiliated with the Crips gang and said that is one of the reasons Berry feared for his life. He said Berry told him that Burton threatened him in the restroom and followed him to the valet area and that’s why he opened fire.

Price said Berry did not file a police report after the altercation in Atlanta earlier this because “he knew who he was dealing with.”

Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, said the office would not comment on the evidence, but that details presented by Los Angeles police detectives were sufficient to support the murder and assault charges.

“As far as arguing the merits of the case, we prefer to do that in the courtroom and not on the sidewalk,” Gibbons said.

Police have not discussed a motive for the killing.

Price said Berry is not a flight risk and plans to argue that during Friday’s hearing.

He said videotape shot at the restaurant will corroborate Berry’s story, but that there is no video of the actual shooting.

He said Berry, a music promoter from Atlanta, was at the restaurant on Monday for a business meeting.

Burton was in Los Angeles to work on a studio album.


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