Three Men Face Life in Prison for XXXTentacion's 2018 Murder After Guilty Verdict
Larry Marano/Shutterstock XXXtentacion
Three men have been found guilty of murdering rapper XXXTentacion in 2018 following a jury trial in Florida that concluded Monday.
Following a week in deliberations, Michael Boatwright, 28, Trayvon Newsome, 24, and Dedrick Williams, 26, were convicted of orchestrating the 20-year-old rapper's killing during a June 2018 robbery.
XXXTentacion, born Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy, was trying to exit a motorsports store in Florida's Deerfield Beach neighborhood five years ago when his BMW was blocked by an SUV.
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A passenger riding with the rapper apparently fled the scene after they were confronted by Boatwright and Newsom, who shot XXXTentacion and robbed him of a Louis Vuitton bag filled with $50,000 in cash.
Boatwright fired the shot that killed the "Look at Me!" performer while Newsom was the other gunman, prosecutors said. Williams, who apparently organized the murder, was noted to be driving the getaway car.
Carline Jean/AP/Shutterstock Trayvon Newsome, Dedrick Williams and Michael Boatwright
According to the New York Times, the jury made the decision partly based on testimony from Robert Allen, who was also at the scene and previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last year.
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Other evidence provided included the store's surveillance footage of two men apparently watching XXXTentacion, mobile data confirming their location and use of the SUV as well as video footage of them flaunting the cash shortly after the murder.
The jury reportedly reviewed over 1,000 text messages as well as footage from the defendants' phones, which included a photo of a news story about the incident, throughout the week of deliberations. While Boatwright, Newsome and Williams were tried together, jurors were instructed to make separate decisions on each of their guilty or innocent statuses.
The three men's defense lawyers reportedly "argued that DNA evidence failed to link them to the shooting," according to NYT. Their team also said Allen was an unreliable witness due to past felony convictions and attempted to link XXXTentacion's murder to his beef with rapper Drake, who was previously dismissed from giving a deposition.
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"Plans hatched in hell do not have angels for witnesses," said lead prosecutor Pascale Achille, following closing arguments, per the Associated Press.
Circuit Judge Michael Usan set the men's sentencing for April 6, where they are expected to receive life in prison. (The Associated Press reports that Florida law requires a life sentence for first-degree murder convictions.)
XXXTentacion first gained recognition after uploading music to SoundCloud in 2013 and achieved mainstream fame with his 2016 debut single "Look at Me!," which is certified two times platinum by the RIAA.
After notching more hits and collaborating with the likes of Noah Cyrus, Juicy J and Trippie Redd, the rapper later earned a posthumous No. 1 single with 2018's "Sad!" shortly after his death.
Before his death, XXXTentacion was mired in legal problems, including allegations by his expectant girlfriend Jenesis Sanchez that he had attacked her. The rapper had pleaded not guilty to allegations of domestic battery by strangulation, witness-tampering and aggravated battery of a pregnant woman before his death.
In January 2019, XXXTentacion's mother Cleopatra Bernard and Sanchez announced the birth of his first son, Gekyume Onfroy. He was born three days after what should have been the performer's 21st birthday.