Rapper C-Murder Leaves State on Book Tour Despite Being Under House Arrest

The rapper sometimes known as C-Murder is in Mississippi to promote the novel he wrote in prison, even though he has been under house arrest for more than two years while awaiting retrial on a murder charge.

It was not clear whether Judge Martha Sassone, who set the terms of Miller's house arrest and returned to the bench last week after an unrelated unpaid suspension, approved the two-day, 15-stop tour in Hinds County.

Defense attorney Ron Rakosky declined comment. Sassone has scheduled a hearing for Miller on Tuesday, her next day in court.

The Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court's electronic database of criminal and civil records did not show any order approving the trip; Sassone's office was closed at 4 p.m. Thursday, The Times-Picayune reported.

Miller, 36, accused of killing 16-year-old Steve Thomas during a brawl in a Harvey nightclub in 2002, left his Jefferson Parish home Wednesday for the book tour to promote "Death Around the Corner." He generally has called himself C-Miller since his arrest but used C-Murder as the novel's byline.

Sassone has allowed Miller to promote his albums and the book and to give promotional interviews, but has ordered him and attorneys to say nothing about the murder case.

The judge set house arrest as a condition of Miller's $500,000 bond in 2005, after the state Supreme Court upheld her order granting him a new trial. A trial date has not been set.

Miller also is charged with two counts of attempted second-degree murder in Baton Rouge, where he is accused of trying to shoot two people at a nightclub in 2001.

She set a curfew instead of house incarceration last year, but reinstated house arrest in August 2006, after seeing Miller interviewed on television at the premiere of Spike Lee's Hurricane Katrina documentary in New Orleans.

Among the trips Sassone has approved since August 2006 was a Fourth of July family gathering in Prairieville. Though under house arrest, Miller is allowed to leave his residence between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and he attends weekly Bible studies Uptown, court records show. He also is authorized to attend recording sessions in Baton Rouge and St. Tammany Parish, as long as his house arrest officers are notified, according to court records.

But this week's outing is the first in which he has left the state.

Cyrus Webb, president of the Jackson-based Conversations Book Club, said he began working to get Miller in February, after he read Miller's book.

Webb said that he was aware of Miller's second-degree murder charge when he arranged for the visit, and he informed people about it, including the schools.

"I did not try to downplay what happened," Webb said Thursday.

But he said the book's story, about a youth's descent into crime and struggle for a better life, has important lessons for teens. The book "lets them know they can make an honest living for themselves, and if they don't, there can be consequences," he said.

Miller's first stop was Thursday at 8:30 a.m., before about 300 middle school students in Utica, Miss., Webb said. The visit is expected to conclude this evening at a Jackson bookstore, according to the schedule.