XXXTentacion Killers Sentenced to Life in Prison
The three men convicted of killing XXXTentacion outside a motorcycle shop in Florida in 2018 were sentenced to life in prison on Thursday, April 6.
Dedrick Williams, Michael Boatwright, and Trayvon Newsome were all found guilty of first-degree murder and armed robbery late last month after seven days of jury deliberation. Closing arguments in the case wrapped on March 8.
The late rapper’s manager Solomon Sobande read a message from XXXTentacion’s family at the sentencing. “This is a loss we will never truly recover from,” he said, per Variety. “We will never get to see Jahseh live to his full potential, we will never get to watch him grow old, we will never get to watch him be a father.”
Over a month later, on May 17, a fourth man, Robert Allen, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for his involvement and testified against the other three men at the trial, received a reduced sentence of seven years. He will ultimately spend just two years behind bars thanks to time-served during the trial. He will also spend 20 years on probation, according to the Miami Herald.
XXXTentacion’s aunt, Deandra Ellis, read a statement on behalf of the rapper’s family at Allen’s sentencing: “I say we are content as far as what the judge threw out for the sentencing. We still have a long road ahead of us. It’s still a day by day process for us. Everyday is just another day that he’s missing.”
Allen addressed the court as well, saying, “If I have to die in prison then so be it I know the risk I was taking. Let justice be served and I’ll know that was the right thing to do… Please forgive me.”
The trial began back in February, nearly five years after XXXTentacion — real name Jahseh Onfroy — was shot and killed on June 18, 2018, at the age of 20. Lead prosecutor Pascale Achille argued that Onfroy was killed in a robbery gone wrong: She said the suspects planned to commit armed robberies that day but only happened upon Onfroy at the motorcycle shop because that’s where they’d stopped to buy masks. Though that encounter was a coincidence, Achille claimed the suspects recognized Onfroy and decided to rob him as he left the store.
The prosecution built its case around surveillance footage, cellphone data that allegedly linked the suspects to the motorcycle shop, and social media posts that allegedly showed them flashing the money they stole from Onfroy.
Allen — the fourth suspect, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder — spent several days testifying during the trial, during which he discussed how he and the other suspects wound up at the motorcycle shop and the on-the-spot decision to target Onfroy. Allen said Williams convinced the group to confront Onfroy and that Boatwright shot him. Allen also said he decided not to participate in the robbery because he “was on camera” at the store, though he said he still got a cut of $5,000 (while the other three allegedly took $15,000 each).
The defense for Williams, Mauricio Padilla, infamously tried to bring in rapper Drake (real name Aubrey Graham) to the trial. Padilla alleged that Graham was somehow involved in Onfroy’s death, a theory prosecutors never floated nor gave any credence to.
But Padilla sought to raise doubts by highlighting an alleged feud between Graham and Onfroy, even citing in his opening argument a Feb. 2018 social media post from Onfroy that read, “If anyone tries to kill me it was @champagnepapi [Drake’s Instagram handle]. I’m snitching right now.” (Onfroy later deleted that post — as well as a few other incendiary posts — and wrote, “Please stop entertaining that bullshit on Twitter. My accounts were previously hacked.”)
Padilla’s efforts even involved trying to get Graham to sit for a deposition in the trial, leading to a multi-week back-and-forth over the matter. Eventually, the judge ruled that Graham would not be deposed due to a lack of evidence of his involvement. Nevertheless, Padilla persisted with the tactic to a certain degree, claiming in his closing arguments that Broward County sheriff’s detectives didn’t do enough to investigate other possible suspects, like Drake.
This story was updated May 17, 2023 @ 3:55 p.m. ET with news of Robert Allen’s sentencing.