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South Florida Rapper Accused of Domestic Violence Against Wife and Infant Daughter


On reality television, people play a fictionalized version of themselves.  It is easy to idealize or, conversely, to have a one-sided love-hate relationship with the cast members, because they seem like fictional characters.  In fact, many former cast members of reality TV shows are relieved when the season ends and they can go back to their offscreen personalities instead of having to do what they think the television audience wants to see.  It is only when news items surface later, filling in the gaps of what happened after the cameras stopped rolling, that we realize that reality TV personalities are real people, affected by the same realities that can happen to any of us.  South Floridians who are old enough to remember a time before reality television remember when Pedro Zamora died of AIDS at age 22 in Miami in 1994, after his lifelong campaign to raise awareness about HIV included being a cast member on the third season of The Real World.  The medical, financial, legal, and relationship struggles that happen to the people we see on TV can happen to any of us.  For example, any of us can have a heated argument with our spouse that can lead to all kinds of issues in family court and criminal court.  Here, our Miami domestic violence defense lawyer explains how a South Florida recording artist has lived through ups and downs, including collaborating with some of the biggest names in hip hop and narrowly avoiding a life sentence in prison, as well as the criminal charges he is currently facing.

The Rise and Almost Fall of Gunplay

Miami has captured the imagination of many rappers, only some of whom actually grew up here.  Richard Morales, Jr., known by his stage name Gunplay, spent his formative years in Carol City, and his earliest recordings were as part of the group Triple C’s, which began as a collaboration between Morales and Rick Ross.  Over the next several years, he gained a nationwide audience and collaborated with many rappers; one of his most acclaimed performances was “Cartoon & Cereal,” where he acted as a lyrical foil to Kendrick Lamar.

2012 was the best of times and the worst of times for Morales.  As his star was rising in the music world, he also faced criminal charges that, if they had resulted in a conviction, could have meant a life sentence in prison.  One day in April 2012, Morales got into an argument with his accountant, Turron Woodside; Woodside alleged that Morales pointed a gun at him during this confrontation.  Morales was charged with aggravated assault, armed robbery, and assault with a deadly weapon.  He pleaded not guilty, and on the day that his trial was to begin, the court dismissed the case because Woodside refused to cooperate with the prosecution, leaving them without enough evidence to make a case against Morales.

Another Accusation Involving a Deadly Weapon

In the past five years, Morales has appeared off and on in the reality TV series Love & Hip Hop: Miami.  A recent episode focuses on the conflict between Morales and his wife Vonshae Taylor-Morales and the resulting criminal charges that Morales is facing.  The couple have an infant daughter, and one night in August 2023, they got into an argument while Taylor-Morales was holding the baby.  Taylor-Morales alleges that, when she told her husband to turn down the volume on his Xbox, he pointed a gun at her.  She also alleges that he grabbed the baby by her head and neck and tried to forcibly take her out of her mother’s arms.

What Happens After a Domestic Violence Arrest?

The court has issued a temporary order forbidding Morales from contacting his wife.  He may only have contact with his daughter through video chat until a future court hearing where a parenting plan will be set.  The courts issue emergency orders after a domestic violence arrest, requiring defendants not to contact their accusers and sometimes temporarily limiting their contact with their children.  Many more dominoes must fall before a court permanently sets strict limits on a parent’s relationship with his or her children; supervised parenting time orders are always temporary, and all parenting plans are subject to revision.  As for the criminal case, Morales, like all defendants, is presumed innocent until proven guilty.  Whether he is convicted will likely depend on Taylor-Morales’s testimony, if she chooses to testify.

Contact Our Criminal Defense Attorneys

A South Florida criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are being accused of domestic violence against your spouse or child.  Contact Ratzan & Faccidomo in Miami, Florida for a free, confidential consultation about your case.





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