The three men charged with the 2018 murder of Jahseh Onfroy, also known as rising rapper XXXTentacion, were found guilty of first-degree murder by a Florida jury.
The guilty verdicts were returned Monday in Fort Lauderdale after more than seven days of deliberation, the Associated Press informed. Mandatory life sentences will come at a later date.
Michael Boatwright, 28, Dedrick Williams, 26, and Trayvon Newsome, 24, were found guilty of armed robbery in addition to the murder of XXXTentacion at age 20.
The three “showed little emotion,” according to the AP, as they each stood up and were handcuffed.
A fourth suspect in the robbery, Robert Allen, pleaded guilty last year to second-degree murder and testified against the other three. Allen has not yet been sentenced, but could receive anything from time served to life in prison.
“As always, I respect the jury’s verdict,” Mauricio Padilla, Williams’ attorney, told The Times by email on Monday. “However, I do not believe my client received a fair trial. We had a crucial defense witness affected during trial, a motion for protection orders barring our ability to testify a key witness was granted, and motions to perpetuate key defense witness testimony were denied.
“From the days when the jury was deliberating, it’s obvious they had questions,” Padilla continued, “and I wish I could have properly defended my client.”
XXXTentacion, who had become the face of a generation of SoundCloud rappers, was shot and killed outside Pompano Beach’s Riva Motorsports on June 18, 2018.
Three months later, his song “Sad!”, released the day before his death, reached the Top 40 on the US Pop chart thanks to millions of SoundCloud and Spotify streams. The rising rapper’s online feud with big-name artist Drake, who XXXTentacion accused of stealing his beat, also put him in the mainstream.
Other songs that scored high on Billboard’s Hot 100 included “F—Love,” “Jocelyn Flores,” and “Moonlight.” She also had chart success working with Kodak Black on “Roll in Peace” and the late Lil Peep on “Falling Down.” (Lil Peep died in November 2017 from an alleged drug overdose.)
XXXTentacion, pronounced “ex-ex-ex-ten-tah-see-ohn,” turned to music as a teenager after a traumatic childhood, releasing his first song in 2013. He announced a 26-date national tour in April 2017 but canceled the rest two months after his cousin was shot. His debut solo mixtape of his, “Revenge”, came out on May 16, 2017 and included eight previously released singles.
His second album “?” debuted on March 16, 2018, at number 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart. It featured the singles “Sad!” and “Changes,” the former of which reached No. 1 after the rapper’s death.
“I looked at him, and I’m looking at someone who’s literally been dealt a bad hand in life,” Onfroy’s manager Solomon Sobande told The Times in early 2018, recalling the first time he met the artist when XXXTentacion was on. behind bars in 2016. He had been charged with allegedly beating and strangling his pregnant ex-girlfriend, as well as unlawful imprisonment and witness tampering.
The two were separated by a thick glass partition, Sobande said, and XXXTentacion faced 30 years behind bars. The rapper pleaded not guilty to the charges and maintained his innocence until his death. However, Pitchfork got a recording in late 2018 in which XXXTentacion admitted to beating the woman and stabbing nine other people.
“Knowing he had all this potential, I was sad for the kid,” Sobande said in 2018. “He has his own problems, but it’s safe to say he didn’t get the fairest hand.”