FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The murder trial of three men accused of killing South Florida rapper XXXTentacion continued at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday.
Detectives arrested Trayvon Newsome, 24, Dedrick Williams, 26, Robert Allen, 26, and Michael Boatwright, 28, for the murder, but only Allen pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and is a witness in the case. The others are going to trial.
Detectives say the group ambushed and robbed the rapper, whose real name is Jahseh Onfroy, shortly before 4 p.m., on June 18, 2018, outside of RIVA Motorsports in Deerfield Beach.
All sides rested their cases Friday. Closing arguments began Tuesday morning.
Prosecutor Pascale Achille played cellphone videos the defendants allegedly took hours after the killing that showed them smiling and dancing as they flashed handfuls of $100 bills. Michael Boatwright, Dedrick Williams and Trayvon Newsome are all charged with first-degree murder and face mandatory life sentences if convicted.
“This is who they are. This is their real character. Killers that within 24 hours after shooting the victim dead and stealing $50,000 from him, this is what they do,” Achille told the jury as she played the video. “Look at how happy they look. Look at how excited they look.”
She also played surveillance video from the motorcycle shop and from where two of them allegedly stashed an SUV that she says link the men to the killing. And she recounted statements from a fourth man, Robert Allen, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last year and testified against his former friends.
George Reres, Newsome’s attorney, implored the jury not to convict his client based on Allen’s testimony or evidence implicating the other two defendants, saying, “He was not there.” He said Allen, a 12-time convicted felon, should not be believed and Newsome’s DNA was not found on any evidence.
He told jurors they should not believe Newsome is guilty simply because of the video showing him flashing money with the others, arguing he may not have even known where they got it.
“He did some stupid things — he posed with some money,” Reres said. “Guilt by association is not something the law permits.”
Mauricio Padilla, Williams’ attorney, called Allen a “liar.” He said the prosecution’s witnesses contradicted each other and Broward County sheriff’s detectives didn’t look at other possible suspects, including the Canadian star rapper Drake — he and XXXTentacion had an online feud. He said his client did tattooing and other work that paid him in cash, so the video of him flashing money means nothing.
Padilla also sought to cast doubt on the evidentiary value of the surveillance video, saying that while it may show his client in the store and walking back to the SUV, there are moments where the vehicle is blocked and Williams could have gotten out and left.
Boatwright’s attorney was expected to give his closing argument Wednesday, followed by Achille’s rebuttal and then jury deliberations. The trial began a month ago.