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Friday, 11 January, 2002, 10:51 GMT
Rapper DMX escapes jail
Rapper DMX
Rapper DMX pleaded guilty to all charges
US rapper DMX has escaped jail by agreeing to produce public service announcements warning children against guns and animal cruelty.

The singer - whose real name is Earl Simmons - faced 13 charges of animal cruelty, two counts of creating a nuisance and one count of disorderly conduct and possession of drugs after police went to the singer's home in 1999.

In the State Superior Court in Hackensack, New Jersey, Judge Donald R Venezia allowed the singer to go free on condition that he make the announcements.

Mr Simmons was also fined $1,000 (693) for each count of animal cruelty and a term of probation.

The agreement also involved the dropping of weapons and child endangerment charges, also from 1999 against his wife, Tashera Simmons.

After his court appearance Mr Simmons, 31, said he was relieved to put the case behind him. "I'm just glad it's over," he told reporters.

Witness

Mr Venezia asked prosecutors to work out before 15 March the exact number and nature of the announcements to be made by the rap star.

Police went to the Simmons' home in Teaneck in June 1999 after Mrs Simmons' purse was found near to where the rap star's business manager had been shot.

Rapper DMX
Rapper DMX: Latest album went to the top of the chart

The manager, who is also Mr Simmons' uncle, was wounded in the foot at the Fort Lee Hilton, New Jersey. The incident remains unsolved.

A case originally brought against Mr and Mrs Simmons together was due to start this week but fell apart when a key prosecution witness - Mrs Simmons' mother, Marcia Tate - refused to cooperate.

Mrs Tate had told detectives that Simmons had been smoking crack cocaine and had alleged that Mr Simmons had pulled a pistol in front of her.

Chart-topper

A police search of the house found a loaded 9mm pistol, bullets, a high-capacity magazine and six "used glass cocaine-smoking pipes". Thirteen pit bull terriers were also found in the house.

The child endangerment charges came from the fact that couple's son, who was six at the time, and a 15-year-old cousin were also in the house.

The last DMX album, The Great Depression, went straight into the top of the Billboard album chart in November.

Mr Simmonds co-starred with the late Aaliyah in the 2000 movie Romeo Must Die and appeared with Steven Seagal in last year's Exit Wounds.

See also:

16 Oct 01 | Music
Solid Crew member admits attack
21 Aug 01 | Music
Hip Hop goes satirical
15 Jun 01 | Music
Rap's maturity 20 years on
23 Apr 01 | Music
Rap's stormy Knight
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