Musical performer Ricky Hampton will stand trial March 11 over accusations that he was illegally carrying a gun during the gang shootout that ended his 2017 rap concert in downtown Little Rock and injured two dozen people.
Hampton, who performs under the stage name Finese2Tymes, made his first Pulaski County Circuit Court appearance Thursday to answer the charge of possession of a firearm by certain persons, a Class B felony.
Judge Chris Piazza scheduled the trial for March after Hampton pleaded innocent to the charge.
Authorities say that the 26-year-old Memphis man was seen on stage holding a gun after the shooting started at the now-closed Power Ultra Lounge in July 2017.
Hampton is not charged with firing a gun during the incident, but co-defendant Kentrell Dominique "Dirt" Gwynn, who was Hampton's bodyguard, is facing 10 counts of aggravated assault over accusations he opened fire during the melee.
The men left Little Rock in the immediate aftermath of the shooting and were arrested the next day in Birmingham, Ala.
Gwynn, also 26 and from Memphis, is due back in court in about 2½ weeks. He faces a possible 60-year sentence.
Hampton has been barred from legally owning a gun since 2010 when he was convicted of armed robbery in Tennessee.
A conviction on the Power Ultra charge has the potential to add 20 years to the five-year federal sentence he's already serving for carrying a gun at another Arkansas nightclub.
Hampton has admitted to brandishing a weapon, but denied firing it, during a late-night encounter at Club Envy in Forrest City about a week before the Power Ultra shootout.
However, Hampton is scheduled to stand trial Jan. 22 in St. Francis County on battery and aggravated-assault charges over accusations he fired the weapon, an AK-47-style pistol, shooting a woman who was arriving to see him perform after she, in her car, inadvertently blocked the vehicle he was riding in from leaving the parking lot.
That incident occurred about a week before the shootout between rivals the Crips and the Bloods at the Power Ultra Lounge in Little Rock.
Federal authorities say Hampton has gang ties, noting that he has a large "Ghost Knob" tattoo on his back that signals an affiliation with the Memphis Vice Lords.
Gwynn also has pleaded guilty in federal court to giving Hampton the gun the rapper had in Forrest City. He is scheduled to be sentenced in that case on Wednesday.
Metro on 01/04/2019
Print Headline: March 11 trial set for rapper in Little Rock gun case