Aspiring Kiwi rapper could face US death sentence

An aspiring Auckland rapper may be executed in the US after being charged with first-degree murder.

Twenty-nine-year-old Clinton Thinn was arrested in California after allegedly trying to rob a bank.

He is reported to have gone into the Chula Vista bank and used a flare gun and a hammer in the stick-up. He was captured during his attempt.

Fairfax reports a friend of Thinn as saying after being taken into custody he was involved in an incident at a prison, which allegedly led to another person's death.

Thinn has been charged with murder in the first degree, attempted robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and carrying a loaded firearm.

Thinn has not entered any plea and he isn't eligible for bail. If convicted he could face the death penalty.

Fairfax reports his friend, Chris Sims, as saying he's worried for Thinn, who's only a "Grammar boy from Parnell".

"I'm just afraid he's going to be in prison for the rest of his life, on death row," he says.

"I can't really believe it. I may never see Clinton again."

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says it is working with Thinn.