FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A household buddy of the rapper XXXTentacion broke down Tuesday as he informed jurors how he and the rapper had been ambushed by armed robbers as they drove away from a motorbike store, how he fled in worry after which heard the gunshots that killed the rising star.
Leonard Kerr’s testimony highlighted the opening day within the trial of three males accused of fatally capturing XXXTentacion on June 18, 2018, inside his BMW sports activities automotive, which had been blocked by an SUV as Kerr and the rapper pulled out of the Riva Motorsports’ parking zone close to Fort Lauderdale.
Two males jumped out with weapons, Kerr stated. He stated the taller man pointed his weapon at him and informed him to not get out of the automotive, punctuating his command with a curse phrase.
The opposite man was making an attempt to drag the rapper’s gold chain from his neck. Kerr stated he may hear XXXTentacion asking, “What’s this for?” At that time, Kerr stated, he determined to flee, pushing the button that opened the passenger door.
“If I run, I can get shot, but I can live. If I sit….” Kerr stated, his voicing trailing off till he stopped to regain his composure.
Kerr stated when he appeared again, the taller man was pointing his gun at XXXTentacion, and he stated he heard at the least two loud bangs. The lads then obtained again into the SUV and sped off, taking with them the $50,000 the rapper had in his designer bag.
Michael Boatwright, 28, is accused of being the shooter, whereas his buddy, Trayon Newsome, 24, is accused of being the opposite gunman. Dedrick Williams, 26, is accused of being the driving force. They might all obtain life sentences if convicted of first-degree homicide. A fourth man who prosecutors say was within the SUV, 26-year-old Robert Allen, pleaded responsible final yr to second-degree homicide and is about to testify towards his former buddies.
Throughout opening statements earlier Tuesday, the jurors heard divergent theories in regards to the capturing. A theft gone awry, in response to prosecutors. In line with the protection, it may have been a feud between XXXTentacion and the megastar Drake, however they are saying detectives refused to analyze that chance.
Prosecutor Pascale Achille informed jurors that Boatwright, Newsome, Williams and Allen, set out that day to commit armed robberies. Allen and Williams went contained in the motorbike store to purchase masks, she stated.
There, they occurred upon XXXTentacion, who, in response to Kerr, had the $50,000 he had simply gotten from the financial institution hanging out of his bag. The pair acknowledged him, and the group seized upon the chance, deciding to rob him as he left, Achille stated. Boatwright shot him a number of occasions “without any provocation,” she stated.
To various levels, the defendants are linked to the capturing by surveillance video and cellphone areas, and all are implicated by means of Allen’s anticipated testimony, Achille stated. Then there are the social media pictures of a few of the males flashing the cash posted that night time, she stated.
“They go on social media and start bragging that they have this influx of cash,” Achille stated. “They flash it like it’s Christmas Day.”
To the boys’s attorneys, the defendants are victims of Robert Allen’s lies and the failure of detectives to analyze XXXTentacion’s feud with Drake — XXXTentacion as soon as stated on social media that if he ever wound up lifeless, the Canadian rapper could be the trigger. He later retracted that. One other rapper had additionally made threats towards XXXTentacion.
They stated that with the rapper’s slaying coming simply 4 months after the slaying of 17 individuals at close by Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive Faculty in Parkland, the Broward Sheriff’s Workplace was below excessive political strain to unravel the case rapidly.
“For Broward County, for everyone involved, this was a nightmare,” stated Mauricio Padilla, Williams’ legal professional.
That’s why they needed no half with investigating a star, he stated.
Prosecutors say there isn’t a proof linking Drake to the capturing, and Williams is clearly seen within the retailer’s surveillance video, recognizable by means of his distinctive facial tattoos. He was additionally recognized by one of many clerks. Padilla conceded Williams was current within the retailer however didn’t say how he would clarify that.
Joseph Kimok, Boatwright’s legal professional, additionally pointed the finger at a 3rd man because the potential shooter — a buddy Williams was seen speaking to contained in the motorbike retailer simply earlier than the capturing who has the identical construct as his consumer. He alluded that the buddy may have gotten into the SUV Williams was driving exterior the view of surveillance cameras. He stated the proof will present that Boatwright was asleep on the house he shared along with his grandmother on the time of the capturing.
“At no point (in the surveillance videos) will you see Mr. Boatwright, because he wasn’t there,” Kimok stated.
Sure, a cellphone linked to him was close to the shop — however that was a neighborhood cellphone utilized by a number of males, he stated. And sure, he “very stupidly posed” with cash that night time — however that cash was Allen’s, not Boatwright’s, Kimok stated.
Newsome’s legal professional additionally denied that his consumer was current.The sufferer, whose actual title was Jahseh Onfroy, pronounced his stage title “ex-ex-ex-ten-ta-see-YAWN.” He was a platinum-selling rising star who tackled points together with prejudice and melancholy in his songs. He additionally drew criticism over dangerous conduct and a number of arrests, together with fees that he severely beat and abused his girlfriend.