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It’s been almost five years since up-and-coming rapper Jahseh Onfroy, better known as XXXTentacion, was shot to death in his BMW while leaving RIVA Motorsports motorcycle shop in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The singer-songwriter, known for his hit song “SAD!,” was just 20 years old at the time of his death on June 18, 2018.
Defendants Michael Boatwright, 27, Dedrick Williams, 26, and Trayvon Newsome, 24, are all facing life in prison if convicted. Opening statements are expected on Tuesday and Law&Crime will have live coverage of court proceedings throughout the trial.
Each defendant is charged with first-degree murder and is held without bail. Boatwright faces the additional charge of robbery with a firearm.
“Michael has been living under this terrible accusation for over four years. We’re looking forward to a jury finally seeing the truth and clearing his name,” Boatwright’s attorney, Joseph Kimok said.
An eyewitness placed two masked gunmen described as black males at the crime scene at the time of the incident. The defendants are accused of blocking the rapper’s exit from the parking lot with an SUV before getting out of the vehicle and shooting Onfroy.
Williams is also charged with robbery with a firearm and operating a vehicle without a valid license. Newsome faces an additional charge of robbery with a deadly weapon.
A fourth co-defendant, 26-year-old Robert Allen, has agreed to testify against the others. He already pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and robbery with a firearm and is scheduled to be sentenced on February 23.
The masked vigilantes then proceeded to take a Louis Vuitton bag with $50,000 cash from the victim’s car before making their escape, prosecutors said. A Bank of America teller confirmed a cash withdrawal in the amount of $50,000 was made by the rapper earlier that day before heading to the motorcycle shop with friend Leonard Kerr.
The defense plans to focus on other people with potential motives to kill the victim, including members of Onfroy’s family. Several artists, including famed rapper Drake, have also been listed as potential witnesses in the trial.
The victim himself had his own set of charges stacked up against him and was set to stand trial for domestic abuse before his untimely death. The late rapper was rapidly gaining popularity, landing an American Music Award for favorite Soul and R&B album in 2018 and later a Billboard Music Award for Top R&B Album in 2019.
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