LES Rapper “Tru Life” Sentenced to 10 Years

Lower East Side rapper “Tru Life” has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in the fatal stabbing of a man outside a Manhattan apartment complex almost two years ago. The former Jay-Z protege, who’s real name is Roberto Rosado, and his brother accepted a plea deal in connection with second-degree murder, gang assault and assault charges.

Prosecutors said 20-year old Christopher Guerrero was killed at the end of a violent evening in June of 2009. The trouble began hours earlier in a Midtown night club after alleged LES drug dealer Michael Slater was shot in the stomach.

The ordeal shook up residents of the housing developments along Avenues C and D, where escalating violence was considered then (and still is now) a growing concern.

Rosado’s brother, Marcus, was sentenced to 12 years. Under the terms of the deal, neither man can appeal.

Beyond Tru Life’s Arrest: Growing Fears of a Violent Summer


In the trendy bars and restaurants along Avenue B, last week's arrest of Lower East Side rapper Roberto Rosado (aka "Tru Life") was barely noticed if it was noticed at all. The Times and the Daily News ran their obligatory stories– only on account of "Tru Life's" one-time status as protégé of rap music mogul Jay Z. But a few steps away down 13th Street, inside the Campos Plaza Housing Project, the story was anything but trivial. Street-smart kids, moms and youth counselors all knew the violence that had erupted a few days earlier was a bad omen, at the start of a long, tense summer.

It would be easy to dismiss the events of the past two weeks as an isolated incident, the conclusion of a long-simmering argument between a hot-tempered rapper and some guys from the neighborhood. But it's become clear that they hint at much larger problems: a pattern of escalating violence, a burgeoning drug trade and the prospect of a full-blown gang war.

Here's what we know.  "Tru Life," is being held without bail on Rikers Island, having pled not guilty to charges of second- degree murder and gang assault in connection with a knife fight that ended in the murder of a 20-year old man, Christopher Guerrero.  Tru Life's brother, Marcus Rosado, and, possibly, two other men are also being held.  Police believe the trouble began hours earlier at a Midtown nightclub, where gunfire erupted and a suspected drug dealer, Michael Slater, was shot in the stomach. There are many conflicting accounts of what happened. But it seems clear the night's violence was fueled by a bitter feud among rival drug gangs based in New York's housing projects. The tensions have apparently been escalating since the early spring, perhaps even earlier.

At a recent community meeting the NYPD acknowledged they've seen an up tick of violence in the neighborhood.  But they resisted suggestions that they have an "organized gang problem" on their hands. Captain Edward Britton, responsible for policing 23 housing developments and 40-thousand residents, emphasized that violent crime is still quite low, historically speaking. But some mothers in attendance made it clear a series of incidents over several months have them more than a little worried.  These include the pursuit of a teen by men in SUV's brandishing guns, a shootout on Clinton Street and a murder last year at Campos Plaza. 

Reports of increasing violence are not new.  Late last year, residents demanded more police protection after several shootings at the Alfred E. Smith Houses.  Community newspapers and blogs have taken note of several violent episodes at Tompkins Square Park.  Police have been investigating the death of a woman who was reportedly attacked in the park two months ago.  While they're not convinced she was murdered, some park regulars believe a major gang in the area, the Money Boyz, was responsible.

More on the Arrest of Lower East Side Rapper


The Associated Press and the New York Times pick up the "Tru-Life" arrest story. The Times reports the Lower East Side rapper, whose real name is Roberto Rosado, faces second degree murder and gang assault charges in connection with the fatal stabbing of 20 year old Christopher Guerrero on June 15th. Another man Jason Gray was also stabbed – he was released from the hospital yesterday. Rosado's brother Marcus, was arrested yesterday, and the Times says he faces similar charges. Attorneys for the two brothers say they are not guilty. The dispute apparently began outside a nigh club on 46th Street, and ended in the lobby of an apartment building on 26th Street:
people drew knives, and in the violence that followed — part of which
was captured by a surveillance camera — Mr. Guerrero and Mr. Gray were
stabbed, the police said. Mr. Guerrero died from injuries to his
internal organs and blood loss, according to a complaint filed in
Manhattan Criminal Court.

Thursday News Links

The governor threatens to dock the pay of state senators and send state troopers after them if they don't show up in the chamber. The latest nonsense from Albany here.

An analysis by Gotham Gazette shows, in future years,  New York City may very well pay the price for this year's reasonably rosy election-year budget.

Lower East Side rapper "Tru Life" has reportedly turned himself in to the NYPD to face alleged first degree murder charges. According to reports in the hip hop media, "Tru Life," whose real name is Roberto Guzman Rosado, Jr., was involved in the recent stabbings of two men. An 18 year old (unnamed) man died and a second victim, Jason Black, is hospitalized in critical condition. The reports suggest the stabbings were retaliation for the shooting of "Tru Life" associate Michael Slater.

Channel 2 reported on a summer job fair at the Henry Street Settlement.

Damaris Reyes, executive director of "Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES)," is the recipient of the 2009 Jane Jacobs Medal. The award, given out by the Rockefeller Foundation, is presented to people whose work "creates new ways of seeing and understanding the city."

The Times takes note of last night's 2nd annual "Showdown in Chinatown," a celebrity soccer match featuring basketball and soccer stars in Roosevelt Park. An audition for the Knicks, they ask?