Nephew who allegedly shot rapper ‘Benzino’ ordered held without bail
PLYMOUTH — A Randolph man accused of opening fire on his uncle, a rapper and reality television show personality, during a funeral procession on Route 3 southbound Saturday was ordered held without bail Wednesday, even though his attorneys insisted that he acted in self-defense and cooperated with investigators.
Judge J. Thomas Kirkman ordered Gai Scott, 36, held after a dangerousness hearing in Plymouth District Court, where more than a dozen supporters showed up. Scott is accused of shooting his uncle, Raymond E. Scott, 48, who goes by the stage name Benzino.
The shooting occurred while Gai Scott was driving through Duxbury in a Bentley as part of a procession at about 11:54 a.m. Saturday headed to a funeral service for his grandmother, police said.
Scott told investigators his uncle pulled up beside him in the left lane, rolled down his window, and said, “You got a problem with me,” and then threatened to kill him, according to a police report filed in court.
Scott asserted that he opened fire after he saw his uncle flash a gun at him, the report said.
A not-guilty plea had been entered on Scott’s behalf Monday to a charge of armed assault with intent to murder.
Attorney Jon Ciraulo said that Gai Scott fired at his uncle because he feared for his life and those of his family.
He added that Scott’s family was also concerned about Raymond Scott being in the Boston area for the funeral of his mother, Mary A. “Kinky” (Timas) Scott.
Robert M. Klimas, a state trooper, testified at the hearing Wednesday that Gai Scott said his uncle has been threatening to kill him for years and sent threatening text messages to him and his family in the days before the funeral.
Klimas also said Scott told him that he purchased a 9mm firearm just days before the funeral. Three firearms were recovered from his car, Klimas said.
Ciraulo said Scott did not pose a threat to the public. “Every single time, he said he was in fear,” Ciraulo said. “His family stands behind him.”
He added that it was Gai Scott who informed officers that he was the shooter, speaking first with a Plymouth officer on a cellphone and later waving a different officer over to his car and telling him what had happened.
Ciraulo asked Kirkman to set bail at $35,000, order Scott confined to his home, to undergo GPS monitoring, and to give up his firearms.
Another defense lawyer, Christopher Coughlin, said he was disappointed in Kirkman’s decision to hold Scott without bail.
Assistant District Attorney Amanda Fowle said Scott did not tell investigators that he saw his uncle flash a firearm at him until his third interview with police. She added there was no evidence that Raymond Scott was armed at the time of the shooting and that there was nothing to substantiate the reasons Gai Scott gave for fearing his uncle.
“He opened fire in the middle of the highway,” she said.
Klimas testified that a witness saw a red sport utility vehicle driven by Raymond Scott jockeying for position with a Bentley that Gai Scott was driving. The witness saw an arm extend out the driver’s side window of the Bentley and fire what he believed to be a 9mm handgun into the SUV, Klimas said.
Raymond Scott told investigators he happened upon his mother’s funeral procession while heading to Plymouth to pick up a friend, Klimas said.
He had decided against attending the funeral because of bad blood in the family and had mourned his mother privately at a wake, Klimas said. After being shot, Scott has said, he ran to the hearse carrying his mother’s body for help.
The hearse kept going, and Scott was later picked up by another vehicle in the procession that was carrying two aunts, he has said.
Scott sustained a gunshot wound to his right shoulder and suffered an abrasion on his back, Klimas said. He was hospitalized and is now recuperating at his home in Atlanta, said his father, Edward DeJesus.
Martin K. Leppo, an attorney for Raymond Scott, has said that tension between branches of the Scott family stemmed from Scott’s belief that his mother’s property and finances were being misused by his sister’s family.
DeJesus said the judge made the right call. “He’s carrying three guns to a funeral,” he said. “Raymond has done nothing but be good to this kid.”