After weeks of jury selection, opening arguments in the murder trial for three of the four men who were involved in the killing of XXXTentacion are expected to begin this week.
The trial comes more than four years after gunmen killed XXXTentacion during a robbery outside a South Florida motorcycle shop. The late rapper, born Jahseh Swayne Onfroy, was leaving Riva Motorsports in Deerfield Beach, Fla., when he was ambushed and shot to death by two masked robbers on June 18, 2018. One of the men then grabbed a Louis Vuitton bag containing $50,000 cash XXX had just withdrawn from the bank, jumped in an awaiting SUV and sped away.
Four men were arrested for the murder: shooting suspect Michael Boatwright, 28, and his accused accomplices, Dedrick Devonshay Williams, 26, Robert Allen, 26, and Trayvon Newsome, 24. All of them were charged with first-degree murder with a firearm and armed robbery with a firearm. Williams was also charged with a probation violation for theft of a motor vehicle and driving without a valid license, in connection with the murder.
Only three of the men are on trial; Robert Allen pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Aug. 12, 2022 and is expected to testify against the other three defendants.
Allen’s attorney, Jim Lewis told NBC Miami: “[Allen] pleaded guilty to a lesser included offense of second-degree murder and robbery with a firearm. He still faces a life sentence. Obviously, we are hoping for better than that. But his sentence is deferred and it is likely he will be called as a witness in the case against the other three co-defendants.”
Lewis continued: “Mr. Allen’s role was much less than the other three involved. It was always kind of contemplated that the State was looking to use him as a witness in the case. And finally we came to an agreement and plead to the agreement today … Again, his involvement was much less than the others. More of an accusatory after the fact than really part of the planning. Certainly never got out of the car, never had a gun, never shot anybody. And hopefully the judge and the State will take this into consideration.”
Meanwhile, the defense for the suspected gunman, Michael Boatwright, has listed Drake, 6ix9ine, Joe Budden, Quavo, Offset, the late Migos rapper Takeoff and more as potential witnesses in the murder trial. The reason why Drizzy appeared on the witness list was because of his social media feud with the late rapper before his death. In 2017, X had beef with Drake over what he believed was the Canadian rapper copying his rap flow from his breakout track “Look at Me!” on the song “KMT.” A year later, a cryptic post surfaced months before X’s death that read: “If anyone tries to kill me it was @champagnepapi,” which is Drake’s Instagram handle. But XXXTentacion later claimed his Instagram account had been hacked. Other rappers featured on the list included Tankhead666 and Ski Mask The Slump God, who is a dear friend of XXXTentacion. Although several big-name rappers are featured on the witness list, there is no guarantee they will come to court and testify on the stand. Lawyers for the artists could ask a judge to remove them from the case, arguing there is no evidence linking them to XXX’s murder. It’s also expected that during the trial, XXX’s mother, Cleopatra Bernard, will divulge how much money she had accrued following the death of her son. Boatwright’s attorney was able to convince Judge Micheal Usan to allow Ms. Bernard to reveal that information in open court. Bernard’s lawyer, Robert H. Trachman, had been denying Boatwright’s attorney’s motion to compel, calling the information “irrelevant and highly confidential.” “For the reasons set forth, below defendant has no entitlement to the discovery he seeks concerning the assets of Ms. Bernard because the discovery requested by the defendant is not relevant to any matters pending before this court,” Trachman wrote in court documents. Legal experts believe the trial will stretch into February and wrap up in March. If the three men are found guilty of murder, they face life in prison.
Watch a News Report on XXXTentacion Murder Trial Below
See the Current Status of Every Murdered Rapper’s Case
XXL takes a look at the current status of the cases of hip-hop murders that have occurred over the past 35 years.