Florida state law mandates that the attackers will be sentenced to life behind bars.
Three men have been found guilty of first-degree murder for the slaying of Florida rapper XXXTentacion, who was fatally shot during a robbery in 2018. A fourth suspect previously acknowledged his role in the plot, but has not been sentenced.
After meeting for its eighth day of deliberations on Monday, a jury returned guilty verdicts for Trayvon Newsome, 24, Dedrick Williams, 26, and Michael Boatwright, 28, finding all three responsible for armed robbery and the murder of the 20-year-old rapper, whose real name was Jahseh Onfroy.
Onfroy was shot dead near a South Florida motorcycle and boat dealer in June 2018, with two masked assailants seen in surveillance video firing on the artist before robbing him for a Louis Vuitton bag containing $50,000. They sped off in an SUV with two other suspects, with Boatwright believed to have been the main shooter alongside Newsome, while Williams and another man, Robert Allen, remained in the vehicle.
Allen had already pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last year after cooperating with prosecutors, even testifying against the other defendants, but has yet to be sentenced.
Under Florida law, first-degree murder carries a minimum sentence of life in prison, with the death penalty reserved for the most egregious offenders, meaning the three men convicted on Monday are likely to spend the rest of their lives in custody. Their sentencing is set for April 6, though given the legal requirements it is all but a formality. Allen could face between 25 years and life in prison for his role in the killing, but it remains to be seen whether his assistance will result in a lesser punishment.
An attorney for Williams, Mauricio Padilla, told the Associated Press that his client did not receive a fair trial, claiming he was barred from sharing key witness testimony with jurors.
“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,” he said.
During the trial, defense lawyers also questioned the police probe into the shooting, accusing detectives of ignoring other possible suspects, including Canadian rapper Drake, with whom Onfroy had an ongoing feud on the internet. Prosecutors, however, insisted their evidence against the four men was overwhelming.