FORT LAUDERDALE, FL– The jurors in the trial of three men accused of murdering rising rap star XXXTentacion concluded their fourth day of deliberations on Monday reviewing nearly 1,200 text messages and several videos and photos confiscated from two of their cellphones.
Some of the videos and photos showed the defendants flashing piles of $100 bills outside a motorcycle dealership in suburban Fort Lauderdale, hours after the June 18, 2018, XXXTentacion shooting. He was killed by two gunmen who stole $50,000 he was carrying in a Louis Vuitton bag.
There was also a photo of a story from a news website about the shooting, photos from shopping and dating apps, a seemingly random photo of then-first lady Melania Trump, videos of a defendant in a rickshaw with a woman and a Father’s Day greeting.
The jury made their motion in the afternoon, asking to see the phone records of suspected gunman Michael Boatwright, 28, and accused getaway driver and ringleader Dedrick Williams, 26, from the day before and the day of the shooting.
Williams sent and received more than 950 text messages during that time and Boatwright had more than 200. The jury had to huddle near a projection screen at the front of the courtroom to read them. they could not be read by the gallery.
The jury did not request data from the phones of suspected second shooter Trayvon Newsome, 24, or suspected co-conspirator Robert Allen, 26. Allen testified against his former friends after pleading guilty to second-degree murder last year.
Boatwright, Williams and Newsome face first-degree murder and armed robbery charges and face life sentences if convicted. Prosecutors did not call for the death penalty. The jury has been deliberating for approximately 15 hours since receiving the case late Wednesday at the end of four weeks of testimony. The deliberations will continue on Tuesday.
XXXTentacion, real name Jahseh Onfroy, had just left Riva Motorsports, where he was looking for motorcycles for sale, when his BMW was blocked by an SUV ahead.
Surveillance video showed two masked gunmen emerged and confronted the 20-year-old rapper at the driver’s window, and one shot him repeatedly. Then they grabbed the bag of money, got back in the SUV, and sped away. The friend was not hurt.
Allen testified that the men left that day to commit robberies and went to the motorcycle shop to buy Williams a mask. There they discovered the rapper and decided to make him their target. Allen and Williams went to the store to confirm it was him.
They then went back to the SUV they rented, waited for XXXTentacion to show up and, according to witnesses, ambushed him. Prosecutors said surveillance footage from the dealership, cellphone data and videos of the men showing money link them to the shooting.
The men’s lawyers said Allen was lying and that her DNA was not found on the artist. Lawyers for some of the men said that while the money flash videos were “stupid,” they did not prove their clients were actually involved in the shooting and robbery.
The rapper, who pronounced his name “Ex ex ex ten-ta-see-YAWN,” was a platinum-selling rising star whose songs explored themes of prejudice and depression. He also drew criticism for bad behavior and multiple arrests, including charges that he severely beat and abused his girlfriend.