Jury pre-selection scheduled to get underway in murder trial of rapper XXXTentacion
FORT LAUDERDALE - Jury pre-selection is set to get underway Wednesday in the murder trial of rapper and Broward native XXXTentacion.
Shooting suspect Michael Boatwright, 28, and his accused accomplices, Dedrick Williams, 26, and Trayvon Newsome, 24, could all receive life sentences if convicted of first-degree murder. They are also charged with armed robbery. They have pleaded not guilty.
A fourth man, Robert Allen, 26, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last year and is expected to testify against the other three. Jury selection is expected to last three weeks. The trial is expected to last into March.
In pretrial hearings, the defendants' attorneys have suggested there were others who had financial and personal motives for killing the singer, including members of his family and other rappers.
The 20-year-old rapper, whose real name was Jahseh Onfroy, had just left Riva Motorsports in Deerfield Beach on June 18, 2018, with a friend when his BMW was blocked by an SUV that swerved in front. Two masked gunmen emerged, confronted XXXTentacion at the driver's window and one shot him. They then grabbed a Louis Vuitton bag containing $50,000 cash the singer had just withdrawn from the bank, got back into the SUV, and sped away.
Investigators say surveillance video from the store and other evidence links the three defendants and Allen to the killing.
They say video shows the SUV arriving at the motorcycle shop just as XXXTentacion and his friend entered. Williams and Allen followed them inside, with Williams making a small purchase. They then walked back to the SUV. About 10 minutes later, XXXTentacion and his friend tried to leave, but the SUV blocked them. Prosecutors say Boatwright and Newsome were the gunmen who confronted the rapper, with Boatwright firing the fatal shots.
Investigators say Boatwright's fingerprints were found on the driver's door of the rapper's BMW. Williams was identified by a Riva Motorsports clerk, who said he was a regular customer. Williams told investigators he did not know the other three were planning a robbery.
A search of Williams' social media showed photos of him with Allen, who was then identified from the surveillance video. Williams' girlfriend told investigators that he told her that the other gunman was Newsome.
They say cellphone data also links the defendants to the scene.
Photos of Boatwright and Newsome holding up large amounts of $100 bills, timestamped on the night of the killing, were also found on their phones, prosecutors say.
for more features.