A Swedish hip-hop artist accused of killing a jazz pianist at a Hollywood crosswalk was acting in self-defense after the victim slapped his rented SUV, an attorney said Wednesday.
David Moses Jassy got out of his vehicle and assaulted the pedestrian because he feared for his own safety as well as that of his girlfriend, attorney Alec Rose said during opening statements in the murder trial.
Jassy, a 35-year-old songwriter and producer also known as Dave Monopoly, pleaded not guilty to murder, assault and other charges in the November 2008 death of John Osnes, a Los Angeles musician.
Prosecutors said Osnes, 55, slapped Jassy's rented sport utility vehicle when it crept into his crosswalk.
Jassy then got out of his car and punched Osnes in the face, prosecutors said. When Osnes bent over to pick up his glasses, Jassy kicked him in the head, they alleged.
Prosecutors said several people tried to restrain Jassy but he broke free, got back behind the wheel of the SUV and ran over Osnes as he tried to flee.
Osnes, who prosecutors called a "pedestrian rights activist," later died at a hospital.
If convicted of murder, Jassy, from Stockholm, faces a possible life sentence.
He has co-written songs for "High School Musical" star Ashley Tisdale.
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