FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida — Three men were found guilty Monday in the 2018 murder of star rapper XXXTentacion, who was gunned down outside a South Florida motorcycle shop after $50,000 was stolen from him.
Michael Boatwright, 28, Dedrick Williams, 26, and Trayvon Newsom, 24, were convicted of first-degree murder and armed robbery by a jury that deliberated for just over seven days. They would later receive mandatory life sentences.
The defendants showed little emotion as each stood up and was handcuffed by the bailiff.
During a month-long litigation, prosecutors linked the men to the June 18, 2018 shooting outside Riva Motorsports in suburban Fort Lauderdale with extensive surveillance video filmed inside and outside the store, as well as cell phone video that showed them flashing handfuls of them. 100 dollar bills a few hours later. murder.
Prosecutors also had evidence from a fourth person, Robert Allen, a former friend of the defendants, who said he was involved in the robbery. Last year, he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. He was not sentenced until the conclusion of this trial. He could get anything between serving time, which means he could soon be released, and life, partly depending on how the prosecutor’s office perceives his help.
Defense lawyers accused Allen of lying motivated to avoid a life sentence. They also stated that prosecutors and detectives conducted a poor investigation that did not consider other possible suspects, including Canadian rap star Drake; he and XXXTentacion had an online feud.
Twice this week, jurors have been asked to review text messages from Boatwright, who prosecutors have identified as the shooter, from the day of the shooting. A printout from the prosecutor’s office shows that from the moment he woke up around 10:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., about an hour before the shooting, he sent 17 different people, including one about getting a car. Prosecutors say the SUV used in the shooting was rented from the woman through a phone app. He then stopped texting for about two hours.
About an hour after the shooting, he texted: “Tell my brother I got the money for a new phone.” A few minutes after that, he sent someone a screenshot of the news that XXXTentacion had been shot.
XXXTentacion, whose real name is Jasey Onfroy, had just left Riva Motorsports with a friend when his BMW blocked an SUV that swerved ahead.
Surveillance video shows two masked gunmen getting out and confronting the 20-year-old singer at the driver’s window, and one of them shot him several times. They then grabbed a Louis Vuitton bag of cash that XXXTentacion had just withdrawn from the bank, got back into the SUV and sped away. The friend was not hurt.
Newsom was accused of being the other shooter. Williams was accused of being the driver of an SUV that also contained Allen.
Allen testified that the men intended to commit a robbery that day and went to a motorcycle shop to buy Williams a mask. There they noticed the rapper and decided to make him their target. Allen and Williams went into the store to make sure it was him. They then returned to their rented SUV, waited for XXXTentacion to show up, and ambushed him, according to the testimony.
The rapper, who spelled his name “Ex ex ex ten-ta-see-YAWN”, was a rising platinum-selling star who addressed issues such as prejudice and depression in his songs. He also came under fire for bad behavior and numerous arrests, including allegations that he severely beat and abused his girlfriend.