LUBBOCK, Texas — The Lubbock murder case that followed the same storyline as locally-produced rap song went to court this week. However, a Lubbock jury heard the evidence against Tazmin Paul and found him not guilty of murder Friday afternoon.

Paul, now age 23, was charged with the August 2021 shooting death of Seattle Salazar in the 1600 block of Avenue U.

On trial, Tazmin Paul
Tazmin Paul in court (Nexstar/David Ewerz)

The arrest warrant against Paul said a witness saw an SUV circling the area before the shooting. The witness heard shots and the SUV never returned after that. A second witness heard 12 shots and then three or four more shots. Police found a gunshot victim dead in the southeast corner of the intersection, the warrant said.

Previous coverage: Warrant describes moments leading up to man gunned down in Lubbock street

Paul’s co-defendant Jesus Tijerina, also indicted for murder, was subpoenaed to testify and was granted testimonial immunity. Tijerina said Paul texted him to meet up. Tijerina testified that Paul had been in a car wreck and when he got into the vehicle with Tijerina, he was upset and mad.

As they were driving, Tijerina said Paul thought were being followed and put on a bandana.

“It didn’t look right,” Tijerina told the jury. “It looked like a bandit.”

Tijerina also said Paul had a rifle and a handgun. He used them both.

“He started shooting by the park,” Tijerina testified.

On 16th street near Overton Park, Paul started shooting the rifle at a man dressed in black, Tijerina said to the jury. Paul wanted Tijerina to go back to pick up the shell casings. And if the man was still alive, Paul wanted Tijerina to run him over.

When they went back Paul shot again, Tijerina testified. Tijerina could hear the victim man screaming.

A judge ruled the rap called “Man Down” by Willivtrilliv and featuring 806taz would be admissible in the trial. The song, released about a year prior to the murder, describes shooting a man “for a couple of bricks.”

Paul did a Facebook interview about the rap song days before the shooting, saying he raps about the things he lives, according to evidence presented at trial.

Prosecutors asked about it during the trial and the rap song was played for the jury.

Due to the violent nature of the lyrics and the use of racial epithets, the words are not repeated here. WARNING: The link in the next sentence leads to graphic material. Click at your own risk. The song appears on Youtube at this link.

Testimony at trial indicated Salazar was homeless, disabled and blind (or at least vision impaired).

But the defense pointed out at trial that there were discrepancies in the case. Defense Attorney Michael King said one witness thought the suspect had straight hair, which would not be consistent with Paul. Another witness thought the shooting was done by two Hispanics, King said.

“It’s not Tazmin [Paul],” King told the jury. “He’s not guilty.”

And the jury agreed with King, rendering a not guilty verdict after roughly three-and-a-half hours of deliberations.

King added, “I’m shocked that in 2023, we’re showing rap videos to try to convict a Black male.”

In closing arguments, the prosecution said Paul ended up gunning down a complete stranger who was walking in a neighborhood.

Jail records indicated Paul was in the Lubbock County Detention Center for more than two years before the trial began.