The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

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February 13, 2013

Cops OK rapper’s release

SHENANGO VALLEY — District Judge Lorinda L. Hinch, Mercer, said she’s not in the habit of releasing from jail people who are accused of three counts of aggravated assault of policemen.

But, in Justin L. Dunlap’s case, she made an exception.

Dunlap, 21, of 441 Koehler Drive, Sharpsville, a local rapper and business owner, was arrested by Hermitage police Jan. 26 at his then-townhouse on Esther Lane.

Police said they entered Dunlap’s townhouse after receiving complaints from neighbors about hearing yelling and the sounds of breaking items, and then hearing for themselves a man scream.

Police said they found Dunlap in a bedroom and he yelled, “You cannot let in the light,” “No weapon can hurt me” and “You will not take my soul.”

Dunlap grabbed two pieces of glass and stabbed himself in the torso, police said. He went to a bed frame and pulled out a 12-gauge shotgun, police said. Police pulled the shotgun away but Dunlap fought with them, scratching one policeman on the forearm, biting another’s hand and headbutting a third in the eye, police said.

Police charged Dunlap with aggravated assault, resisting arrest and disarming a policeman.

Dunlap waived for court all charges Tuesday, and his attorney, Assistant Mercer County Pubic Defender Ted Isoldi, asked that his bond be converted from $50,000 secured to unsecured.

With a secured bond, the defendant has to put up money to be released from jail. With an unsecured bond, the defendant is essentially released on his or her own recognizance, but would have to pay whatever amount is previously set to get out of jail if there are any bond condition violations.

Assistant District Attorney William J. Moder III said he and the police department did not object to the bond conversion because of Dunlap’s extensive familial ties to the Shenango Valley, and his having an auto detailing business in Sharpsville.

Hinch, who subbed for District Judge Ronald E. Antos, Farrell, said she did not dispute Moder’s assertion that the police department did not object, but asked each of three policemen in attendance at the hearing whether they objected. None said that they did.

Hinch then questioned Dunlap, a 2110 Sharpsville High School grad, about his background, his schooling and his work, which also includes being a “music artist.”

Hinch asked what type of music Dunlap performs and he responded, “It’s rap music you could listen to,” he said, trying to separate his music from those who rap about violence, drugs and submissive women.

Hinch said she had the document recommitting Dunlap to jail signed, but granted the bond conversion.

“I just hope you understand what a tremendous break has been granted you this morning,” she said.

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