Three men have been convicted in the 2018 shooting death of rap star XXXTentacion during a robbery outside of a Florida motorsports store.
On Monday (March 20), Michael Boatwright, 28, Dedrick Williams, 26, and Trayvon Newsome, 24, were found guilty of first-degree murder in the slaying, as well as an armed robbery charge for taking a designer handbag containing $50,000 during the crime. The verdict was handed down by the jury on the eighth day of deliberation following a month-long trial during which the prosecution used surveillance footage, cell phone records, text messages, and witness testimony to build their case.
Texts from Boatwright, who was fingered as the person that fatally shott XXXTentacion, were reviewed by the jury, which included a message of him sending a screenshot of a news report that the rapper had been shot to a friend. Other evidence used against the defendants were clips of them flashing fistfuls of money hours following the crime.
Sentencing for Boatwright, Williams, and Newsome has been set for April 6 and all three are facing mandatory life in prison, per Florida law. A fourth man, Robert Allen, plead guilty to second-degree murder for his role in the crime and provided testimony that helped lead to the convictions of his codefendants. He has not yet been sentenced and could receive anywhere from time-served to life in prison, but is expected to receive leniency in his sentencing due to his cooperation with the state.
Allen testified that on June 18, 2018, he, Boatwright, Williams, and Newsome planned to commit robberies and headed to a Riva Motorsports location to get Williams a mask to disguise himself during the crimes. He says it was there that the four men spotted XXXTentacion entering the store and hatched the plan to rob him upon confirming the “Sad!” rapper’s identity. As XXX prepared to leave the location in his vehicle, the defendants used their own car to cut him off, with Boatwright and Newsome exiting the vehicle with firearms and ambushing the artist. After discovering and taking the bag containing money from the rapper, Boatwright shot him multiple times before the group fled the scene.
According to Williams’ attorney, Mauricio Padilla, his client maintains that he was railroaded and didn’t receive a fair trial. “It is obvious from the days the jury was deliberating that they had questions and I only wish I would have been able to properly defend my client,” Padilla told The Associated Press in an email following the verdict. The lawyer had also argued throughout the trial that rap artists like Drake, Migos, and Joe Budden-all of whom had beefs with XXXTentacion prior to his death-could possibly be behind his murder. Those theories were refuted by the prosecution and a judge, who ruled against requests for Drake to be deposed as part of the case.
XXXTentacion, born Jahseh Onfroy, was one of rap’s fastest rising stars at the time of his death. The 20-year-old hitmaker had gained acclaim for his breakout single “Look at Me.”
Multiple posthumous albums by the rapper have since been released including the solo efforts Skins and Bad Vibes Forever.