Rapper Phipps paroled; long claimed innocence in death case

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Louisiana rap artist has been released on parole after 21 years behind bars. The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reports that McKinley “Mac” Phipps was released late Tuesday, hours after being granted parole. Phipps was serving a 30-year sentence after a St. Tammany Parish jury found him guilty in 2001 of manslaughter in a shooting death at a nightclub in Slidell. Phipps has always maintained he was wrongfully convicted. Witnesses told The Huffington Post in 2015 that their testimony was coerced. Phipps, meanwhile, was drawing praise for mentoring young inmates. Gov. John Bel Edwards granted Phipps clemency in April, setting up Tuesday’s hearing.