Labelle's Son Testifies in Assault Trial for Mother's Bodyguard

Monday, 11 Nov 2013 09:57 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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The son of legendary soul singer Patti LaBelle testified Friday in a Houston court that the man her mother's security guard beat up in 2011 yelled racial slurs at her and then hit him.

Zuri Edwards made the comments during the misdemeanor assault trial of LaBelle's bodyguard Efrem Holmes, 45, who hit Richard King at the Bush Intercontinental Airport, according to the Houston Chronicle. 

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Edwards described King to the jury as "intoxicated, loud, obnoxious," according to KTRK-TV. He claimed that King yelled racial slurs at his mother. 

"I am instantly struck on my face; on the right side of my face," Edwards testified about the beginning of the confrontation between King and his group that included his mother and Holmes.

Prosecutors showed a surveillance video in which Edwards is seen chest-bumping King, which drew a punch from King, and then Holmes punched King three times in the face. LaBelle's hairdresser then got between the two and hit King.

LaBelle testified that she was afraid for her life and her son's when they were approached by King. She said she was concerned when King allegedly hit her son and she believed he tried to get into the group's limo.

"Nobody was trying to hit that kid," LaBelle, 69 said. "He started everything."

Holmes' attorneys told the court that the bodyguard was doing his job in defending LaBelle and Edwards from King.

King, 23, a West Point cadet, had a blood-alcohol level of .28 percent, almost three and a half times Texas' legal threshold for intoxication, according to the Houston Chronicle. King testified that he does not remember what happened the day of the airport incident.

King filed a lawsuit against the LaBelle and Holmes while LaBelle countersued.

LaBelle was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2003. Born Patricia Holte, she began her singing career in 1959 and as lead singer of LaBelle in 1974 sang the group's signature hit "Lady Marmalade."

The song has been covered numerous times, most notably for the Oscar-winning film "Moulin Rouge" in 2001.

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