FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Three men received life sentences on Thursday for the 2018 murder of star rapper XXXTentacion, who was shot outside a South Florida motorcycle shop while robbed of $50,000.
Michael Boatwright, 28, Dedrick Williams, 26, and Trayvon Newsome, 24, were convicted by a jury last month of first degree murder and armed robbery after eight days of deliberations.
Prosecutors had not sought the death penalty, so life in prison was the only sentence Broward County Circuit Judge Michael Usan could impose for the first-degree murder convictions.
During the month-long trial, prosecutors linked Boatwright, Williams and Newsome to the June 18, 2018 shooting outside Riva Motorsports in suburban Fort Lauderdale through extensive surveillance videos taken inside and outside the store, plus cell phone videos showing the made men showing themselves flashing fists out of $100 bills hours after the murder.
Prosecutors also had the testimony of a fourth man, Robert Allen, a former friend of the defendants who said he participated in the robbery. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter last year. He has not been sentenced, pending the conclusion of this trial.
Allen’s sentence could be as short as time served — meaning he could be released soon — or life in prison, depending in part on the weight prosecutors place on his help.
Defense attorneys accused Allen of being a liar motivated by his desire to avoid a life sentence. They also said prosecutors and detectives had conducted the investigation poorly and failed to look into other possible suspects, including Canadian rap star Drake, who had feuded online with XXXTentacion.
XXXTentacion, whose real name was Jahseh Onfroy, had just left Riva Motorsports with a friend when an SUV swerved in front of him and jammed his BMW.
Surveillance video showed two masked gunmen emerging and confronting the 20-year-old singer at the driver’s window, and one shot him repeatedly. They then grabbed a Louis Vuitton bag of cash that XXXTentacion had just withdrawn from the bank, got back into the SUV and ran. The rapper’s friend was not injured.
Boatwright was identified as the primary shooter and Newsome was charged with being the other shooter. Williams was charged with driving the SUV and Allen with being in the vehicle.