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Thursday, March 26, 2009

DJ War Gone Awry: Dispute Over $40, Busted Speaker Lead to Gunplay, Felony Conviction for S.F. DJ

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Not every DJ is amused by your incessant requests for "The Humpty Dance"
  • Not every DJ is amused by your incessant requests for "The Humpty Dance"

Our parents' generation used to assault each other with their fists, bike chains, pipes, or, perhaps, the odd knife over largely meaningless disputes. But we ... we are well-armed. This is more efficient, but hardly a sign of progress.

Take the case of Leonard R. Hawley. The San Francisco party DJ, late of McAllister Street, was on Monday convicted of assault with a firearm, felony illegal gun possession, and misdemeanor possession of a loaded gun -- which could carry a nearly 15-year prison term according to his lawyer. The issue that spurred this conviction: An argument with a fellow DJ over a pair of $20 bills and a speaker.

As reported in the Palo Alto Daily News, Hawley, 30, gave his colleague a ride home following an August party when the two bickered over who owed whom 40 bucks. When the other DJ inadvertently dropped one of Hawley's speakers while unloading his own equipment out of the trunk -- well, that done teared it.

Hawley -- who goes by Raphael or "Raph" -- was convicted of pointing a handgun at his colleague and threatening his life before grabbing the man and firing a shot into the ground to put the exclamation point on the evening.

Defense attorney Alexandria Carl told SF Weekly she feels the jury "didn't follow the instructions of the court" and wrongfully convicted her client (Hawley claims it was the other man who fired off the gun). She added that the San Mateo County Superior Court -- where this case was tried -- tends to be "quick to convict without properly analyzing the case." She said an appeal will be forthcoming following next month's sentencing. 

In any event, if you didn't know it already, this case is yet another sad reminder that it really doesn't take much these days for folks to start shooting at one another.

Keep that in mind the next time you hassle a wedding DJ to play some more Kool & the Gang.  

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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