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Man gets 30 years for Haltom City 'rap battle' killing

HALTOM CITY — A young local rap artist was sentenced to 30 years in prison Wednesday for killing another local rapper in 2006 after a rap battle escalated into a fight at a field.

Samuel Raynard Jones, 20, pleaded guilty Wednesday in a Fort Worth courtroom to engaging in organized criminal activity.

Jones fatally shot 17-year-old Christopher Smith on Sept. 15, 2006 in a field in the 5700 block of Diamond Oaks Drive South in Haltom City.

Smith had arrived at that field along with some friends to participate in a rap battle --a hip-hop tradition in which rappers face off in impromptu contests of rhyming skills.

Smith and Jones faced off until Jones pulled a handgun, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. Smith suggested the two fight with fists, and Jones agreed, Haltom City police said. The two wrestled a short time until witnesses broke up the fight when Jones began choking Smith, the affidavit states.

Smith was collecting his belongings when Jones shot him in the head, according to the affidavit.

Jones was arrested Sept. 23, 2006 at a hotel near Beach Street and Loop 820.

At the time of the shooting, Jones had been on probation on drug and deadly conduct charges, according to Tarrant County criminal court records.

On Wednesday, he was sentenced to five years in prison for probation violation on the deadly conduct charge and 10 years for probation violation on the drug possession charge. All the sentences will run concurrently, according to court records.