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Christopher RONEY






A.K.A.: "Cool C"
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Bank robbery - American rapper
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: January 2, 1996
Date of arrest: October 30, 1996
Date of birth: December 15, 1969
Victim profile: Lauretha Vaird, 43 (Philadelphia Police officer)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on December 13, 1996

Christopher Roney (born December 15, 1969 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), known by the stage name Cool C, is an American rapper whose musical career peaked in the late 1980's.

He is perhaps best known today for the notoriety surrounding his involvement in the murder of a Philadelphia Police officer in a bank robbery in January 1996. He is currently incarcerated in a Pennsylvania state prison awaiting execution. He was to have been put to death on March 9, 2006, but his execution has been stayed.

Music career

Early career

In the mid-1980s, Roney was an original member of the Philadelphia-based Hilltop Hustlers hip hop crew. His 1987 debut single, "Juice Crew Dis," which took aim at the New York-based hip hop crew run by influential rap producer Marley Marl (a group that included heavyweights Kool G. Rap and Big Daddy Kane), gained Roney a good amount of attention.

A pair of 1988 singles for Hilltop and City Beat Records landed Roney a contract with Atlantic Records, where he released two full-length solo albums: his debut I Gotta Habit in 1989 (which included the hit title track and "Glamourous Life") and Life in the Ghetto, in 1990.


In 1991, Roney put his solo career aside to join hardcore rap group C.E.B. (which stood for "Countin' Endless Bank"), with fellow Philadelphia rappers Warren McGlone (Steady B) and Ultimate Eaze. The trio released their only album, Countin' Endless Bank, on Ruffhouse Records in 1993, to disappointing sales and reviews.

Legal issues

On January 2, 1996, during the same time period that he was recording a comeback EP, Roney, along with C.E.B. band mate McGlone, and another local Philadelphia rapper, Mark Canty, attempted a bank robbery at a PNC bank branch in Philadelphia.

During the botched heist, Roney shot and killed Philadelphia Police Officer Lauretha Vaird, who responded to the bank's silent alarm. As he exited the bank, Roney exchanged fire with another police officer, before he and Canty dropped their weapons at the scene and fled in a stolen minivan driven by McGlone.

Vaird, an African-American woman and the single mother of two children, was the first female Philadelphia Police officer killed in the line of duty.

Roney was arrested and on October 30, 1996, convicted of first degree murder. At his subsequent sentencing hearing, Roney was sentenced to death by lethal injection. On January 10, 2006, his death warrant was signed by Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and his execution date was set for March 9, 2006. He was granted a stay of execution from Pennsylvania Judge Gary Glazer on February 1, 2006 until all post-conviction litigation is resolved.

Roney has steadfastly maintained his innocence throughout the trial and appeals process, despite the testimony of three eyewitnesses who placed him at the scene of the robbery, as well as ballistic and forensic evidence that linked him to the murder. He is currently an inmate at Pennsylvania’s State Correctional Institution at Greene.


Christopher Roney

On January 6, 1996, around 8:30 in the morning, Christopher Roney and accomplice Mark Canty entered a Philadelphia bank dressed as utility construction workers and forced several employees to open the bank vault at gunpoint.

Canty went into the vault with two of the women while Roney held a third at gunpoint. Canty shouted to Roney, "Here comes the heat," and Roney replied, "Don't worry; I'll take care of them."

At this time, Police Officer Lauretha Vaird, who was the first officer to respond to the silent alarm, approached the front door of the bank building. As she entered the bank, Roney fatally shot Lauretha in the abdomen and then ran past her through the front door.

Meanwhile Canty fled from the bank through a side entrance, leaving his gun behind. Outside the bank, Roney exchanged gunfire with the second officer to arrive on the scene.

Escaping the shootout, Roney jumped into a getaway vehicle, a green minivan driven by another accomplice, Warren McGlone, and the vehicle sped away. Later that morning the three men met at McGlone's home to discuss the robbery. 

In the meantime, police found the abandoned getaway vehicle and various pieces of the robbers' disguises. They also recovered two weapons lying on the ground outside the bank. One weapon was traced to a relative of Canty, who had discovered the weapon had been stolen. It had last been seen in Canty's possession. The other gun was traced to a friend of McGlone, who had purchased the weapon for McGlone.

After being taken in for questioning, Canty and McGlone confessed to participating in the robbery. Roney was sentenced to death and the two accomplices received life sentences.

Lauretha was 43 years old and had served for 9 years. She was a single parent raising two sons. A song named "Slipped Away, The Ballad of Lauretha Vaird" was written in honor of the fallen officer.


Christopher Roney, Cool C



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