On Monday (March 13), day nine of popular podcaster Taxstone’s trial for the murder of Troy Ave’s bodyguard Ronald “Banga” McPhatter, Troy Ave appeared in court and testified on behalf of the state. According to the New York Post, the BSB rapper told the jury he and McPhatter were in the VIP of Irving Plaza when they ran into Taxstone, with whom he had a longstanding feud. Troy claimed Tax yelled out “What’s popping?” in a manner that Troy believed was threatening.
“Banga turns around to me and says, ‘I’m gonna rock him,’ which means, ‘I’m gonna hit him,'” Troy Ave testified. “And then I wink at him—I tell him, ‘Do your thing.'”
Troy claimed Tax then pulled out a gun and shot McPhatter. Troy said he then wrestled with Taxstone for the gun and was shot in both legs in the process.
“When the shot goes off I see the light from the spark and I hear the shot,” he testified. “This is all happening fast. I get up and start fighting Taxstone, trying to take him, grab the gun, and another shot goes off. I put my leg up to kind of block the shot from hitting me in the face or chest.”
“I got up,” Troy Ave added. “I’d rather die fighting. People die from leg shots. I’d rather die fighting than laying on the ground. I got up immediately.”
Troy testified he was able to get possession of the gun and tried to shoot it only to have the gun misfire. He then saw his friend motionless.
“I rolled his body over and I’m like, ‘Banga, get up. Come on.’ I’m smacking him, like, ‘C’mon bro. Get up,'” Troy testified. “And his eyes were rolling to the back of his head. His shirt was red so I could tell he got shot.”
Hours prior to taking the stand, Troy Ave commented on his appearance in court on Instagram.
“To all my real ones that been riding with & for Me, today is the day I finally get to clear my name,” Troy Ave wrote in the caption of a photo of Jay-Z testifying in a 2021 lawsuit. “It’s been almost 7 years since I lost one of my closest friends #RIPBANGA, 7 years of a narrative about it being my fault, 7 years of my character being assassinated all the while Trying to defend myself without saying much! I took it all on the chin, never complained about the stress even tho I felt it. Never complained about the pain even tho it hurt! Never shed a tear even tho my heart was crying! At my weakest points I drew strength from GOD! drew strength from my Children & drew strength from Yall but today.”
“Ya Boi is Strong! Today .. is our day!” Troy Ave continued. “We in court & the facts will speak louder than any words! It’s time to get this false narrative off my name and dark cloud off my head. To all my supporters today is the day you can tell whoever went against Us ‘Eat a D! I Told you So’ let’s continue to spread Love & Destroy Hate! wether u sending prayers or pulling up to the court today with positive energy I dead ass appreciate it all! #FREETROYAVE #SelfDefense.”
Taxstone is on trial for the shooting death of McPhatter, which occurred at the infamous 2016 shooting at Irving Plaza in New York City on May 25, 2016. Police believe Tax, born Daryl Campbell, shot McPhatter during an altercation in the VIP section of the venue. Troy Ave was arrested and charged with attempted murder a day after the shooting when video showed him firing a weapon in the venue. He since claimed he wrestled the gun away from the killer and fired in self-defense. Which he reiterated in court yesterday.
Taxstone faces 15 years to life in prison if found guilty of second-degree murder. He has already pleaded guilty to a gun charge in connection to the shooting.
According to the Post, prosecutors promised Troy Ave a one-year sentence in exchange for his testimony against Taxstone. He was facing 15 years.
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