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3 sentenced to life in prison in killing of of South Florida rapper XXXTentacion

Three men convicted in murder of South Florida rapper XXXTentacion receive life sentences
Three men convicted in murder of South Florida rapper XXXTentacion receive life sentences 00:23

FORT LAUDERDALE -- The three men who were found guilty last month of first-degree murder in the 2018 killing of star rapper XXXTentacion were formally sentenced Thursday to serve life in prison.

Showing little emotion during the proceeding, Michael Boatwright, 28, Dedrick Williams, 26, and Trayvon Newsome, 24, were handed their fates from Circuit Judge Michael Usan, who addressed each man individually after also presiding over their trial.

XXXtentacion visits iHeart radio Station 103.5 The Beat on May 26, 2017, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. MPI04/MediaPunch via AP

The sentencing by Usan was largely a formality since Florida law dictates a life sentence for first-degree murder convictions.

In somewhat of a departure, however, prosecutor Pascale Achille asked the judge to impose an additional 30-year sentence on Boatwright, found to have been the triggerman, for violating several provisions of his probation when the rapper was slain. 

The prosecutor also asked that the sentence be served consecutively to his life sentence because of Boatwright's behavior during the trial.

"Several times during the trial, Mr. Boatwright did not appear to take these matters seriously," she told the  judge, citing instances of his "abhorrent behavior" when he laughed during the proceeding. "He does not deserve leniency."

The judge agreed to the request after delivering a harsh rebuke to Boatwright.

"You turned a robbery into a murder," Usan said. "On that day, when you stood there and fired that weapon you ended five lives, including your own."

A fourth man, Robert Allen, 26, pleaded guilty in August 2022 to second-degree murder in connection with the murder. He testified against the three other men during the trial but Allen has not been sentenced as of Wednesday.

XXXTentacion. whose real name was Jahseh Onfroy, had just left Riva Motorsports in Deerfield Beach on June 18, 2018, with a relative when his BMW was blocked by an SUV that swerved in front.

Surveillance video from the business showed that two masked gunmen emerged and confronted the 20-year-old singer at the driver's window, and one shot him repeatedly. 

XXXTentacion Slain Trial
Suspected shooting accomplice Dedrick Williams, left, and Trayvon Newsome are shown seated at the defense table with shooting suspect Michael Boatwright, right, during the fourth day of jury deliberations in the XXXTentacion murder trial at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale.  Amy Beth Bennett / AP

The suspects then grabbed a Louis Vuitton bag containing cash that XXXTentacion had just withdrawn from the bank, got back into the SUV and sped away. 

Defense attorneys had sought to poke holes in the state's case, saying their clients were not involved in the murder. 

Immediately after the trial, Williams' attorney, Mauricio Padilla, told The Associated Press that he doesn't feel his client was afforded a fair trial. He noted that a crucial defense witness was stricken and that he was prohibited from deposing a key witness. Phone messages were left with attorneys representing Boatright and Newsome.

"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 said in an email.

During the monthlong trial, prosecutors linked Boatwright, Williams and Newsome to the shooting through extensive surveillance video taken inside and outside the store, plus cellphone videos the men took showing them flashing fistfuls of $100 bills hours after the slaying.

That video was shared by the men on social media and played again during the trial.

The judge referenced that video when sentencing Williams.

"A person with any decency would not have been seen dancing around with stolen money (to show) how proud they were," Usan said.

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.

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