MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – A judge on Wednesday expressed concern about the rapper HoneyKomb Brazy’s alleged conduct but stopped short of ruling on a prosecution request that he revoke the defendant’s probation.
Brazy, whose real name is Nahshon Jones, pleaded not guilty to a pair of new charges accusing him of illegal gun possession and possession of marijuana.
He was on probation for a 2016 conviction on charges of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
Jones has been a figure of intense interest since his grandparents, Tony and Leila Lewis, died in February when someone fired into their Happy Hill home, which also caught on fire. Police have said an ongoing dispute Jones had with a rival may have led to the attack.
Sgt. Jeff Corley, who supervises the Mobile Police Department’s street enforcement team, testified that one of his officers pulled over a car that Jones was riding in days after the homicide.
“We were actually concerned for his safety at that time,” he said.
Probation officer J. Taylor testified Wednesday that Jones got out of prison in November of last year but did not report for probation until February of this year. And the officer said that was the last time he had any contact with Jones.
Prosecutors presented evidence showing that Jones was living in Texas and spent time in Georgia – even though he was not permitted to leave Alabama. His probation officer acknowledged that the defendant paid a fee to transfer probation to Texas, but he added that the request to transfer had not been approved.
Prosecutors also tried to make the case that Jones violated the rules of probation by having guns. They played numerous music videos showing him with various guns. But the defense argued that there is no proof any of these guns were real and point out that some of the videos have disclaimers indicating that the guns are merely props.
The defendant’s stepmother, who handles his business affairs, testified that she has attended some of the music video tapings and can confirm that the guns were not real. “Absolutely not,” she said. “They were props.”
Reshad McCall, whose company has produced most of the music videos, also testified that the guns are fake – along with the money and drugs that appear in those productions.
“We prop everything. … We’re strict on that. We control everything,” he said.
Added McCall: “I personally ordered them. I’ve got receipts for them.”
Beyond the guns in the music videos, prosecutors showed social media posts that appear to show Jones with guns. The probation officer also testified that about a shooting that occurred in Montgomery in November last year. A video played in court shows Jones with three peopled armed with semi-automatic handguns with extended magazines. But Jones, himself, was not armed in the video.
According to court records, police found 10 .45 caliber shell casings, 29 .233 caliber shell casings, 26 9mm shell casings and a bullet in the area of Lower Wetumpka Road and Pickett Street. Officers also found four bullet holes in a building, according to court records.
The video played in court shows the three men firing back after someone shot in their direction from a dark-colored vehicle.
Asked about the incident, court records indicate Jones told authorities, “I’m a real gangster.”
Mobile County Circuit Judge Wesley Pipes expressed concern about that incident.
“He was basically at a shootout in Montgomery,” he said.
Defense lawyer Jeff Deen told FOX10 News after the hearing that his client is an entertaining in a genre that features frequent references to guns and drugs but argued it should not be mistaken for real life.
“It comes with the industry,” he said. “It’s shocking to some of us, but that’s how they make their money. And it’s a very lucrative market, and this young man has a lot of talent. He’s a go-getter.”
Mobile County Chief Assistant District Attorney Keith Blackwood told FOX10 News that probation revocation is warranted.
“The state presented some compelling evidence that we think the judge can revoke his probation,” he said.
The judge seemed to agree, although he did not officially rule. Pipes pointed to testimony that Jones left the state, did not check in with his probation officer and was in Dothan when authorities arrested him on a warrant that the judge issued.
“There’s plenty of evidence of absconding,” he said.
The judge also said that notwithstanding the dispute over the authenticity of the guns shown in the music videos, “That doesn’t explain any of the guns and drugs in social media posts.”
But Pipes also referenced a disagreement about whether Jones realized he was on probation when he got out of prison. Pipes previously had revoked Jones’ probation after separate allegations. But the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals overturned that decision.
The defense maintains that the judge did not specifically notifying Jones that he was back on probation. That issue now is before the appeals court. Pipes said that will play a central role in the current case.
“He has to be on probation in order for the probation to be revoked,” he said.