FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A man who testified against three former friends who murdered rising rap star XXXTentacion during a robbery five years ago will spend the next two years in prison, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Circuit Judge Michael Usan sentenced Robert Allen to seven years in prison, with credit for the five years he has already spent at the Broward County jail. He will then spend 20 years on probation. He could have received a life sentence.
“I do believe you are not the same person who I arraigned five years ago,” Usan said. “I genuinely believe that you are sorry for what you’ve done and not sorry for yourself.”
Allen, 27, pleaded guilty last year to second-degree murder and testified earlier this year against Michael Boatwright, 27, Dedrick Williams, 27, and Trayvon Newsome, 25. They were convicted of first-degree murder in March and sentenced to life in prison.
“Please forgive me, I’m so sorry,” Allen told the court. “Today I plead to the court for my own life not to be sent to state prison because that would be a death sentence.”
Allen and his attorney, Jim Lewis, referred to the fact that as a former gang member who “snitched” on other gang members, other inmates from the same gang would likely kill him.
“There’s nothing to be happy about in this kind of a case, you know he did the right thing and the court did the right thing, give him the opportunity to give him a life,” Lewis argued.
During the monthlong trial, prosecutors linked Allen, Boatwright, Williams and Newsome to the June 18, 2018, shooting outside Riva Motorsports in suburban Fort Lauderdale through extensive surveillance video taken inside and outside the store. They stole $50,000 and made cellphone videos hours after the shooting showing them flashing fistfuls of $100 bills.
XXXTentacion, whose legal name was Jahseh Onfroy, had just left Riva Motorsports with a friend when an SUV swerved in front of him and blocked his BMW.
Surveillance video showed two masked gunmen emerging and confronting the 20-year-old singer at the driver’s window, and one shot him repeatedly. They then grabbed a Louis Vuitton bag containing cash XXXTentacion had just withdrawn from the bank, got back into the SUV and sped away. The friend was not harmed.
Boatwright was identified as the primary shooter with Newsome being identified as the other gunman. Williams was the group’s leader and the driver of the SUV.
Allen testified that the men set out that day to commit robberies and went to the motorcycle shop to buy Williams a mask. There they spotted the rapper and decided to make him their target. Allen and Williams went inside the shop to confirm it was him. They then went back to the SUV they had rented, waited for XXXTentacion to emerge and ambushed him.
The rapper’s family were in court Wednesday and said they agreed with the sentence.