What About Your Friends: Behind Shawty Redd's Murder Charge

V EXCLUSIVE: Two weeks after Shawty Redd fatally shot a man in his Atlanta mansion, the successful young producer faces life in prison if convicted on murder charges. As Shawty Redd claims self-defense, LINDA HOBBS uncovers new details about the deceased, a man known in the streets as "Choppo."

Two weeks after Demetrius “Shawty Redd” Stewart was arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of Damon A. Martin, questions still linger, details remain sketchy, and friendships look torn.

The 28-year-old Atlanta producer behind hits like Young Jeezy's "Trap or Die" and Snoop Dogg's "Sexual Eruption" has been charged with murder and is facing life in prison if convicted. Ever since the New Year's Day shooting, Stewart has been held in a Henry County jail without bond. At Henry County Superior Court on Tuesday, Judge Brian Amer set his bond at $200,000. Shawty Redd is now free on bail and will be allowed to make music, but must wear an ankle bracelet and stay within county limits.

Until his appearance in court, few details had been revealed about what happened inside Shawty Redd's Ballymeade Lane mansion in the gated community of Crystal Lake. “Mr. Stewart was attacked in his own home, and he was well within his rights to defend himself with force,” Stewart’s attorney, Marcia Fuller, said during the bond hearing. “His acts are insulated by the law. It’s in the Georgia Code that you can defend your home, yourself, and even property outside of your home, with deadly force, and not be prosecuted for it.”

A day after the hearing, Fuller told VIBE: “Demetrius was absolutely defending himself during the incident,” she said. “His career will continue. At this point we are waiting for the district attorney to make a decision as to whether or not they are going to go forward on this matter or dismiss it."

According to a source within Shawty Redd’s camp who is familiar with Tuesday’s court proceedings, two of the producers' associates reportedly testified that Martin was "an intruder" who was shot in self-defense, although the police report refers to him as an “associate.”

But according to a source speaking exclusively to VIBE, the deceased—who has been identified as a 35-year-old father from Southfield, Michigan—was actually a close friend of Stewart's known in the streets as "Choppo."

In a 2008 interview with Custom Whipz TV for a cover story in Custom Whipz magazine, Stewart shouted out Choppo and his six-member posse Geto Kingz—that includes Detroit artists Doeboy Reese, Supreme, Big Mudd, Hustleboy Tony Trice, and the crew’s founder Muff Man.

“So who you working with from the D?" the interviewer asked. "Geto Kingz, I know you fucking with them.”

“Aw, yeah, can’t forget about my Geto Kingz niggas out there man,” Stewart said. “They show a nigga much love man. What up big homie Choppo! What up my nigga!”

According to Martin’s best friend—a Detroit producer and engineer who goes by the name Beatz by Squeak—Martin was not an intruder to Stewart's home, and the relationship between the two was much deeper than most people suspect. “He damn near made Shawty Redd,” says Squeak, who picked out Martin’s funeral outfit. “It’s way more to it.”

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‘Black Panther’ Sequel Will Reportedly Begin Filming In Atlanta Next Year

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