Death sentence on line for would-be rapper in triple killing

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DALLAS (AP) — A former University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff student who once aspired to become a famous rapper now has his life on the line after his capital murder conviction in the shooting deaths of three people at a Dallas drug house.

The Dallas Morning News reports the penalty phase opens Monday in the trial of 24-year-old Justin Pharez Smith, in which prosecutors will present evidence in their bid for a death sentence.

Prosecutors say a need for money compelled Smith to kill a man and two women in the August 2014 holdup. A woman and a man survived the attack and identified Smith as the killer.

Prosecutor Kobby Warren said Smith came to Dallas intending to get “on the dope game.” The problem was “he was a terrible drug dealer.”

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