Man uses inheritance to become a rapper and ends up on death row
A New Zealand man is facing 25 years incarcerated or the death penalty after he was accused of murdering his cellmate while serving time in an American prison. Clinton Thinn from Auckland had traveled to America to pursue a career as a rapper, but after getting arrested for a botched bank robbery, things quickly unraveled for the 29-year-old former drug addict.
Thinn was born into a well-off and respected family and had a comfortable existence during the early parts of his life. He attended Selwyn College and Auckland Grammar before going on to study accounting. However, despite the fact that he owned an inner-city apartment and drove around in a Mercedes, the man also had his demons. According to several people close to Thinn, he was constantly in and out of clinics that dealt with mental health and drug abuse.
Despite graduating from a live-in programme, friends believe that Thinn was reintroduced to meth and stopped taking his anti-psychotic medicine before leaving for LA. According to his friends, Thinn believed that Snoop Dogg had agreed to sign him to a "platinum record deal", that Rihanna was his girlfriend and he also claimed that he was in a war with The Game, Lil Wayne and 50 Cent, who were all "out to get him".
But while Thinn thought he was heading to LA to become a superstar, things quickly went wrong. After traveling to San Diego, he was arrested during an attempted bank robbery and is facing 14 charges including assault with a deadly weapon, attempted armed robbery, a death threat, false imprisonment, and burglary.
He was arrested inside the bank and it was reported that he used a flare gun, a hammer, and a knife to try and steal money from the tills. However, while in prison, things got extremely serious for Thinn and he is now facing a first-degree murder charge.
After he was detained in San Diego Central Jail, it is alleged that Thinn joined the Aryan Brotherhood - a Neo-Nazi gang. Then on December 3, it's being reported that he strangled his cellmate, 30-year-old Lyle Woodward during an altercation inside a cell.
Now the aspiring rapper finds himself in 24-hour lockdown in a high-security prison. He is allowed out of his cell just three times a week for an hour at a time. While he is yet to enter a plea, Thinn denies all accusations of murder, telling a local reporter to "prove it" before stating: "I didn't kill anyone".
A former friend of Thinn has admitted to being surprised at the charge, and hopes to see him return home soon.
"It's shocking a fellow student at a prestigious school has ended up there," he said. "I wish him the best. Hopefully he can be deported back home and get the help he needs."
It's yet to see what the outcome of the trial will be but it's a pretty shocking story nonetheless. It's not often you hear of people heading off to pursue their dreams and ending up facing the death sentence.