Rapper Phipps paroled; long claimed innocence in death case

In this photo provided by Angelique Phipps, rapper McKinley "Mac" Phipps stands in his New Orleans home, Wednesday, June 23, 2021, the day after he was released on parole after serving more than 20 years for a 2001 manslaughter conviction in connection with a nightclub shooting in Slidell, Louisiana. The parole for Phipps, who has long maintained he was wrongfully convicted for the shooting, was granted Tuesday. (Angelique Phipps via AP)
In this photo provided by Angelique Phipps, rapper McKinley "Mac" Phipps stands in his New Orleans home, Wednesday, June 23, 2021, the day after he was released on parole after serving more than 20 years for a 2001 manslaughter conviction in connection with a nightclub shooting in Slidell, Louisiana. The parole for Phipps, who has long maintained he was wrongfully convicted for the shooting, was granted Tuesday. (Angelique Phipps via AP) (Angelique Phipps)

NEW ORLEANS – Rapper McKinley “Mac” Phipps has been released from prison after being granted parole in the case of a 2001 shooting at a south Louisiana nightclub.

The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported that Phipps was released late Tuesday, hours after parole was granted by the state parole board.

Phipps was serving a 30-year sentence after a St. Tammany Parish jury found him guilty in 2001 of manslaughter in the shooting death of a man at a nightclub in Slidell. At the time of the shooting, he was a 22-year-old rapper with a new record deal with the No Limit label.

Phipps has always maintained that he was wrongfully convicted. Witnesses told The Huffington Post in 2015 that their testimony was coerced, bringing new attention to his case.

Phipps, meanwhile, was drawing praise for mentoring young inmates. Board members noted that he had no disciplinary infractions in the last 18 years and that he would be eligible for early release for good behavior in 2024.

Under his current parole conditions, he must observe a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, avoid establishments which serve alcohol, perform six hours of community service a month with at-risk youth, and meet with his parole officer weekly.

Phipps’ wife and mother pledged to help him comply with his parole conditions. No one opposed the parole and the parole panel approved it unanimously.

“I want to say thank you for this opportunity,” Phipps added. “I definitely want to say I’m sorry to the family of the victim and to just anyone who was affected by this.”

Gov. John Bel Edwards granted Phipps clemency in April, setting up Tuesday’s hearing.