No Verdict Yet in Trial of XXXTentacion’s Accused Killers
Jurors in the trial of three men accused of murdering rapper XXXTentacion outside a motorcycle dealership nearly five years ago failed to reach a verdict Friday (March 10), meaning they will resume next week.
The jury deliberated for about five hours Friday, bringing the total to about 10 hours since getting the case late Wednesday. The panel of 12 will return to court Monday.
They made their first request of Circuit Judge Michael Usan on Friday, asking to see a transcript of the statement alleged ringleader Dedrick Williams gave detectives after his arrest. None was presented at trial, so they were told to rely on their recollection of what detectives testified about it.
Accused shooter Michael Boatwright, 28, Williams, 26, and accused second gunman Trayvon Newsome, 24, are all charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery. They all face mandatory life sentences if convicted. Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty.
A fourth man, 26-year-old Robert Allen, pleaded guilty last year to second-degree murder and testified against his former friends.
XXXTentacion, whose real name was Jahseh Onfroy, had just left Riva Motorsports in suburban Fort Lauderdale with a friend on June 18, 2018, when his BMW was blocked by an SUV that swerved in front.
Surveillance video showed that two masked gunmen emerged and confronted the 20-year-old singer at the driver’s window, and one shot him repeatedly. They then grabbed a Louis Vuitton bag containing $50,000 that XXXTentacion had just withdrawn from the bank, got back into the SUV and sped away. The friend was not harmed.
Allen testified that the men set out that day to commit robberies and went to the motorcycle shop to buy Williams a mask. There they spotted the rapper and decided to make him their target. Allen and Williams went inside the shop to confirm it was him.
They then went back to the SUV they had rented, waited for XXXTentacion to emerge and ambushed him, according to testimony. Prosecutors say surveillance video from the dealership and cellphone data ties the men to the scene. They also showed jurors videos the men allegedly posted on social media that night of themselves flashing fistfuls of $100 bills.
The men’s attorneys said Allen is lying and that their DNA was not found on the artist. Attorneys for some of the men said that while the money-flashing videos were “stupid,” they don’t prove their clients were actually involved in the shooting and robbery.
The rapper, who pronounced his name “Ex ex ex ten-ta-see-YAWN,” was a platinum-selling rising star who tackled issues including prejudice and depression in his songs. He also drew criticism over bad behavior and multiple arrests, including charges that he severely beat and abused his girlfriend.