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Who Killed Messy Mya? High-Profile New Orleans Murder Trial Halted

New Orleans is known for being different. The trial of the man accused in the 2010 murder of "social-media celebrity Anthony Barre, better known as Messy Mya," is adding to the city's reputation.

As The Times-Picayune reports, the trial was halted Monday after the district attorney's office "got wind of a YouTube video of the 7th Ward slaying and dropped the murder charge against Jason Baptiste Hamilton in an attempt to track down the footage."

Officials then "quickly filed a new charge of manslaughter — a way to keep Hamilton in custody pending a new murder indictment in the case."

How they learned of the video is odd, to say the least. According to the Times-Picayune, "word of the alleged YouTube video came out on Friday after Hamilton's defense attorney, Martin Regan, declared that he would present an alibi defense. A courtroom worker then spoke up, saying she had seen a video of Barre's murder."

What prosecutors don't have, though, is the video itself. It's apparently been pulled off YouTube.

As for the victim, a "rapper and comedian" as well as a local social-media celebrity who was known for his "fluorescent hair shades and caustic barbs," the newspaper has an extensive archive of stories about him and his death. Check out how word broke of his murder:

"Moments after gunshots roared through the 7th Ward on Sunday night, a lone snapshot appeared on the Internet.

"In it, a 22-year-old man is lying cheek to the ground, crimson pooling around his neck. His eyes are closed, his torso curled.

"Chaos explodes around him, with the arms of others pressed to the back of his head. And someone is holding a cell phone just inches from his face.

"This is how the world learned of Messy Mya's death."

(H/T to NPR.org's Wright Bryan.)

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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