Christopher George Latore Wallace, better known as the rapper Notorious B.I.G. or Biggie Smalls was born on May 21, 1972 in New York, New York. When Wallace released his debut album Ready to Die in 1994, he became a central figure in the East Coast hip-hop scene and increased New York's visibility at a time when West Coast artists were more common in the mainstream. The following year, Wallace led his childhood friends to chart success through his protégé group, Junior M.A.F.I.A. While recording his second album, Wallace was heavily involved in the East Coast/ West Coast feud, dominating the scene at the time. On March 9, 1997, Wallace was killed by an unknown assailant in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. His double-disc set Life After Death, released 15 days later, hit #1 on the U.S. album charts and was certified Diamond in 2000 (one of the few hip hop albums to receive this certification). Since his death, a further two albums have been released. His ashes were given to family and final disposition is unknown.
The Onion Field Murder (1963)
On the night of March 9, 1963, LAPD officers Ian Campbell and Karl Hettinger pulled over a car containing two suspicious-looking men on a Hollywood street. The two men, Gregory Ulas Powell and Jimmy Lee Smith (aka "Jimmy Youngblood"), had recently committed a string of robberies. Powell, the driver, pulled a gun on Campbell and ordered Hettinger to surrender his gun to Smith. The two officers were then forced into Powell's car and driven north from Los Angeles to an onion field near Bakersfield where Campbell was fatally shot. Hettinger was able to escape, running nearly four miles to reach a farmhouse. The killing occurred primarily because Powell assumed that the kidnapping of the officers alone already constituted a capital crime under the state's Little Lindbergh Law. However, Powell's interpretation was incorrect, as under the Little Lindbergh Law kidnapping became a capital crime only if the victim was harmed. Powell was arrested on the night of the murder. The following day, Smith was apprehended as well. The lead LAPD investigator on the case was Sergeant Pierce Brooks. Both suspects, convicted of murder and sentenced to death, ultimately received life-imprisonment sentences following a second trial for each, several appeals and a California court decision that found California's death penalty to be cruel and unusual punishment.