In the 2018 shooting death of popular rapper XXXTentacion, who was slain outside a South Florida motorcycle store while being robbed of $50,000, three men were convicted guilty of first-degree murder on Monday.
A jury found all three defendants guilty of armed robbery: Michael Boatwright, 28, Dedrick Williams, 26, and Trayvon Newsome, 24. The jury reached its decision less than an hour after beginning its eighth day of deliberations.
Circuit Judge Michael Usan scheduled their sentencing for April 6; it will primarily be a formality because first-degree murder charges in Florida are punishable by life in prison.
As they stood one by one to be arrested by a bailiff, the defendants—two of whom were attired in suits and the other in a button-down shirt—exhibited little emotion. Family members and other courtroom observers did not make any vocal comments. Usan gave a warning before the findings were announced, saying anyone who made any sort of disturbance would be placed in contempt of court.
In a statement, the Broward State Attorney’s Office congratulated the jury and the prosecution but stated that it will reserve further comments for after the sentencing.
The Associated Press was informed by Williams’ lawyer, Mauricio Padilla, that he does not believe his client received a fair trial. He stated that he was barred from deposing a key witness and that a vital defense witness had been struck from the record.
The lawyers for Boatright and Newsome received phone messages.
In an email, Padilla expressed his regret for not having been able to adequately defend his client. “It is evident from the days the jury was deliberating that they had questions,” Padilla wrote.
Prosecutors used extensive surveillance footage from both inside and outside Riva Motorsports as well as cellphone videos the men shot of themselves flashing $100 bills hours after the murder to connect Boatwright, Williams, and Newsome to June 18, 2018, shooting outside the business during the month-long trial.
The testimony of a fourth guy, Robert Allen, a former friend of the defendants who claimed to have taken part in the heist, was also presented by the prosecution. He admitted confessed to second-degree murder last year. He has not yet received a sentence because this trial is still ongoing. He could receive anything from time served, indicating he might be released soon, to life in prison, based in part on how much weight prosecutors assign to his cooperation.
Allen was charged by the defense team as a liar who was driven by his desire to avoid a life sentence. Also, they said that the investigation by the prosecutors and police was subpar and neglected to check into other potential suspects, such as Canadian rapper Drake, with whom XXXTentacion had an online fight.
When a Vehicle swerved in front of XXXTentacion, whose true name was Jahseh Onfroy, and obstructed his BMW, he had just left Riva Motorsports with a companion.
Two masked assailants were shown on surveillance footage approaching the 20-year-old singer at the driver’s window and firing multiple shots at him. They subsequently seized a Louis Vuitton bag that contained money that XXXTentacion had just taken out of the bank, hopped back in the Vehicle, and raced off. The companion suffered no harm.
It was asserted that Newsome was the other shooter. Allen was charged with being inside the SUV while Williams was charged with operating it.
Allen testified that the men went to the motorcycle store to get a mask for Williams before setting out that day to commit robberies. They decided to make the rapper their target after seeing him there. Williams and Allen entered the store to make sure it was really him. Afterwards, in accordance with testimony, they returned to the SUV they had leased, waited for XXXTentacion to emerge, and attacked him.
The platinum-selling rising star rapper, whose name is pronounced “Ex ex ex ten-ta-see-YAWN,” addressed problems including discrimination and sadness in his lyrics. He received flak for his bad behavior and several arrests, including allegations that he brutally battered and mistreated his partner. —-
This story has been changed to reflect that the jury requested the text messages from Boatwright last week, not this week.