The Philadelphia-based rapper known as Cool C has been given an execution date for the 1996 murder of a police officer. Christopher Douglass Roney had a recording contract with Atlantic Records in the late 1980s and a hit record named, The Glamorous Life. Cool C was convicted of first degree murder after allegedly killing Officer Lauretha Vaird.
The rapper has been on death row for the last 18 years. On January 2, 1996, Roney, Warren “Steady B” McGlone, one of the crew members from the group Countin’ Endless Bank (C.E.B.), and another rapper, Mark Canty, set out to rob a Philadelphia bank. During the failed attempt, Cool C shot and killed the 43-year-old officer who responded to PNC’s silent alarm. After exchanging gunshots with another police officer, Cool C and Canty dropped their weapons and ran off in a stolen vehicle which was being driven by Steady B.
The rapper was convicted on October 30 and, at a subsequent hearing, was sentenced to death by lethal injection. His partners in crime, Canty and McGlone, were both given life in prison without parole for their roles in the crime. Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell signed Roney’s death warrant on January 10, 2006 and his date for execution was set for March 9, 2006. On February 1, 2006 Judge Gary Glazer granted Cool C a stay of execution until all proceedings following conviction were resolved.
In addition to forensic and ballistic evidence as well as surveillance video, three eyewitnesses placed Cool C at the scene of the crime; yet he maintains innocence. The rapper awaits execution at Pennsylvania’s State Correctional Institution. His new execution is scheduled for January 8, 2015.
In the 80s rapper Cool C was an original member of the hip hop crew Hilltop Hustlers. He released a debut single called Juice Crew Dis in 1987 which was considered a jab at a New York-based rap crew, which included Kool G, Rap and Big Daddy Kane. This song gained the lyricist a host of attention. After joining the Atlantic Records family, Roney released two full-length solo albums.
Cool C put his solo career on hold in 1991 to join the rap group C.E.B. The three members of the group including Roney, McGlone and Eric “Ultimate Eaze” Ponder, only released one album on Ruffhouse Records named, Countin’ Endless Bank. The reviews and sales for this project were disappointing despite the single Get the Point reaching the number five spot on Billboard’s Hot Rap Singles.
The victim, Officer Vaird, was an African-American woman and the single parent of two children. She left an indelible mark on the 25th District and was the first female Philadelphia officer to be killed in the line of duty. Prior to becoming a police officer in 1986, Vaird was an assistant to special education teachers at a middle school in Germantown. She was known for mentoring new officers and for her keen sense of humor.
A Boys and Girls Club in Feltonville is named in the fallen officer’s memory. Police Officer Lauretha Vaird Boys & Girls Club, located at 4800 Whitaker Avenue in Philadelphia, PA, offers five main program areas designed to challenge the mind and body. These core programs help members establish a solid foundation in order to develop ethical and moral values through social and diverse educational activities.
The mission of the center is to enable and inspire youth to maximize their full potential as responsible, productive and caring citizens. Police Officer Lauretha Vaird Boys & Girls Club believes every child deserves to have a safe place to learn, grow and play while developing positive relationships with concerned adult professionals.
Caesar, the slain officer’s son, said Cool C deserves the death penalty. He has suffered depression and had a rough life because of the killer’s actions; his whole family has suffered because of it. Although it will not bring his mother back, he is happy that true justice is finally being served.
By Cherese Jackson (Virginia)