KY v. Ronnie O’Bannon: Kentucky Derby Party Murder Trial

Posted at 2:10 PM, October 13, 2023


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Court TV) — Jury selection begins Tuesday, Oct. 17 in the case of a DJ for rapper Jack Harlow accused of shooting a bartender at a nightclub during a 2021 Kentucky Derby pre-party in Louisville.

Defendant Ronnie O'Bannon's mug shot.

Ronnie O’Bannon (Louisville Metro Dept. of Corrections)

29-year-old Ronnie O’Bannon, (also known as Ronnie Lucciano) had claimed he shot Kasmira Nash, 37, in self-defense. Nash, who had been working at the Vibes Restaurant and Ultra Lounge “Derby Weekend Kickoff Party” in Louisville, died from a gunshot wound at the scene in the early morning hours of May 1, 2021. Harlow was playing at the party and could be called as a witness.

O’Bannon is charged with murder and tampering with physical evidence in connection with Nash’s fatal shooting. Court documents obtained by Court TV say the shooting occurred after a verbal and physical altercation at the club. O’Bannon, who has pleaded not guilty, said Nash attacked him with a champagne bottle.

Harlow canceled his appearance, which was set to take place at the Kentucky Derby just hours after the shooting. He was scheduled to deliver the Derby’s ceremonial “Rider’s Up” duties.

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY – MAY 18: Jack Harlow attends the Louisville Special Screening of “White Men Can’t Jump” at Baxter Avenue Theatres Filmworks on May 18, 2023 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Stephen Cohen/Getty Images for 20th Century Studios )

A separate lawsuit filed by Nash’s family alleges O’Bannon and other Harlow associates had been allowed to bypass security that night, which is how a gun ultimately made its way into the facility.

Harlow released a statement on his Instagram one week after the tragedy:

“My heart breaks for Kasmira, her children, and everyone else touched by this tragic death. My heart breaks for my city, a place that’s been through too much pain already. I’ve been in touch with Kasmira’s family during this unimaginably painful time, and I’m grateful to them for keeping the lines of communication open.”

Murder is a capital offense in Kentucky. In addition to the possibility of the death penalty, punishments for murder include life without parole, 25 years to life in prison, or 20 to 50 years of imprisonment.

Nash’s family is also seeking punitive damages for the toll Nash’s death caused them, including attorney fees, funeral expenses and a trial by jury.