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Rocketta
Mar 4th, 2005, 05:53 PM
Police Recover Stolen Ray Charles Tapes in L.A.

Thu Mar 3, 8:18 PM ET
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By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Police said on Thursday they had recovered boxes of original recordings of soul music legend Ray Charles from the home of an audio engineer accused of taking advantage of the singer's blindness to steal the tapes in the final months of his life.

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Reuters Photo (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/050304/photos_en/mdf881814)


Terry Howard, 48, who shared in three Grammy Awards last month for his work on Charles' final album, "Genius Loves Company," was arrested Feb. 17 during a search of his home. He was formally charged on Tuesday with grand theft by embezzlement and receiving stolen property, authorities said.



As noted in the recent film biography "Ray," Charles, who died on June 10, 2004, at age 73, was one of the few recording stars who owned the original master tapes of his own music.



Howard has since pleaded innocent, and he was released from jail on Thursday after his bail was reduced to $100,000 from $1 million, according to his lawyer, Steve Cron.



Cron described Howard as "a loyal friend and associate of Ray Charles" who was completely trusted by the singer and "did nothing to betray that trust," adding all the tapes seized from his apartment had been in his possession legitimately.



"He did not have original master recordings. He had copies, and he had every right to have them," Cron told Reuters. "Sound engineers routinely take home material and work in their home studios, and that's what Terry did."



Cron suggested Howard was the victim of false accusations by individuals from the singer's estate, Ray Charles Enterprises, who were jealous of Howard's relationship with Charles, "which was long-standing and very close."



Police said a collection of Charles' master tapes were reported stolen from the singer's famed RPM studio in Los Angles, and detectives searched Howard's home in suburban Burbank on the basis of a tip Ray Charles Enterprises received from an associate of the engineer.



Inside, they found shelves filled with boxes containing old reel-to-reel tapes, some labeled as the property of Ray Charles Entertainment or RPM International, said police Lt. Donald Hooper. Many of the cartons appeared to have been water-damaged, moldy or caked with dirt, he added.



Among the items reported stolen, Hooper said, was a master recording of Charles' classic hit single "Georgia On My Mind."



"That was one of the things we went there to find, but I don't know if we found it," he told Reuters, explaining that many of the tapes were unmarked.



Police believe Howard took some material unbeknownst to Charles on occasions when the two worked together alone at RPM, Hooper said. Court documents say the thefts occurred between Feb. 18, 2004 and Feb. 17, 2005.

Rocketta
Mar 4th, 2005, 05:53 PM
I hope he rots in jail. :fiery: