Drake has been named as a possible suspect in the murder of late rapper XXXTentacion by attorneys for the defense, who argued that the Canadian hitmaker had motive to support their claims.
On Feb. 7, the legal team for Michael Boatwright, Trayvon Newsome and Dedrick Williams, the three men charged with XXXtentacion’s murder, told jurors that investigators and the prosecution were hasty in their conclusion that the defendants were the culprits. They also alleged a failure to explore the possibility of Drake or other celebrity’s involvement and were feeling pressured to nab a suspect in the murder due to the crime being in close proximity to the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School months earlier, during which 17 people were killed.
The defense pointed to a social media post by XXXtentacion prior to his death, warning that if he were to end up dead, that Drake was behind the murder. “If anyone tries to kill me it was @champagnepapi,” XXX wrote on his Instagram story at the time. The rapper would later claim that his Instagram account was hacked and that he was not responsible for the post. “For Broward County, for everyone involved, this was a nightmare,” one of the lawyers, Mauricio Padilla, told jurors of the circumstances surrounding the incident. Prosecutors have shot down the defense’s theory, stating that there is no evidence linking Drake or any other celebrity to the crime.
XXXTentacion was shot and killed during a robbery on June 18, 2018 while leaving Riva Motorsports in Florida. According to the prosecution, Boatwright, Newsome, and Williams had come to the store looking to purchase masks to disguise themselves during armed robberies, but spotted XXXTentacion and decided to key in on him instead. As the rapper was leaving the location in his BMW, his car was cut-off by the suspects, with Boatwright and Newsome approaching the vehicle and demanding money. After retrieving $50,000 from a Louis Vuitton bag inside the BMW, Boatwright shot XXXTentacion multiple times “without any provocation,” said prosecutor Pascale Achille.
The suspects were nabbed through surveillance footage and cellphone records, as well as through information provided by Robert Allen, who was also charged in connection with the murder. Allen, who already accepted a plea deal for his role in the crime, is expected to take the stand for the prosecution and testify against the defendants. Boatwright and Newsome’s attorney claim that their clients were not at the scene of the crime and that it was Allen who gave them the money they were seen flashing on social media following the robbery.
In addition to facing a life sentence if convicted of first-degree murder, Boatwright, Williams, and Newsome are also facing robbery charges..