Philadelphia rap pioneer Cool C is scheduled to be executed tomorrow (Jan. 8). Born Christopher Roney, the “Glamorous Life” star was convicted 19 years ago this month of first-degree murder in the death of Philadelphia police officer Lauretha Vaird. The shooting occurred during a botched bank robbery carried out by Roney and two other men, including his rhyming partner Warren “Steady B” McGlone.
Though prosecutors sought the death penalty for all three, only Roney received the sentence. (The other two men are serving life without the possibility of parole.) Roney and his mother maintain his innocence, saying they were sharing a meal during the 1996 robbery; surveillance footage and forensic evidence suggest Roney’s presence at the bank.
During his time on the mic, Roney was known as one of Philly’s foremost emcees, beloved for taking up arms against MC Shan, whom many felt had abandoned the city that gave him his start in hip-hop. The peak of his success as Cool C came in 1989 with his Atlantic debut, I Gotta Habit. His video for “The Glamorous Life” featured the first appearance from none other than Jill Scott, who starred as the love interest.
Roney was originally scheduled to be executed in 2006, but was granted a stay. He is 45 years old.