Philly rap pioneer Cool C gets last minute stay of execution

by Raheem Karim

Christopher Roney aka Cool C, Philadelphia golden-age rapper — was set to be executed by lethal injection tomorrow, the result of his 1996 conviction on charges of first-degree murder for the shooting death of Police Officer Lauretha Vaird. Roney, then 26, and two other men McGlone (a.k.a. Steady B), and another local Philadelphia rapper, Mark Canty attempted to rob a Philadelphia PNC Bank branch. Roney shot Vaird, a 43-year-old mother of two, as soon as she stepped through the bank’s entrance.

Cool C emerged through the Philadelphia rap scene when Hip-Hop was dominated by New York during the mid Eighties. He gained notoriety by recording a dis song “Juice Crew Dis” targeted toward the Juice Crew, specifically MC Shan. The single help propel his career and signed with the label City Beat that put out Cool C’s next single, “C Is Cool.” That and C’s self-released follow-up, “Down to the Grissel,” were successful enough to land C a deal with Atlantic Records. In 1989 Atlantic Records released C’s debut album, I Gotta Habit, boasting his signature single “Glamorous Life,” which featured a young Jill Scott.

Roney released another album under Atlantic Records Life in the Ghetto but did not chart as well as his debut.

In 1991, Roney put his solo career aside to join hardcore rap group C.E.B. (which stood for “Countin’ Endless Bank”), with fellow Philadelphia rappers Warren McGlone (Steady B) and Ultimate Eaze. The trio released their only album, Countin’ Endless Bank, on Ruffhouse Records in 1993, to disappointing sales and reviews. The single “Get the Point” reached #5 on Billboard’s Hot Rap Singles.

On January 2, 1996, during the same time period that he was recording a comeback EP,[2] Roney, along with C.E.B. band mate McGlone (a.k.a. Steady B), and another local Philadelphia rapper, Mark Canty, attempted a bank robbery at a PNC bank branch in Philadelphia. During the botched heist, Roney shot and killed Philadelphia Police Officer Lauretha Vaird, who responded to the bank’s silent alarm. As he exited the bank, Roney exchanged fire with another police officer, before he and Canty dropped their weapons at the scene and fled in a stolen minivan driven by McGlone.

Roney was arrested and on October 30, 1996, convicted of first degree murder. At his subsequent sentencing hearing, Roney was sentenced to death by lethal injection. On January 10, 2006, his death warrant was signed by Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and his execution date was set for March 9, 2006. He was granted a stay of execution from Pennsylvania Judge Gary Glazer on February 1, 2006 until all post-conviction litigation is resolved. His execution is scheduled for January 8, 2015

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