The prosecution gave opening statements in XXXTentacion’s murder trial on Tuesday as they shared video evidence of the moment the rapper was robbed and killed and a video of him going to the bank to withdraw money to buy a motorcycle.
Three suspects Michael Boatwright, 28, Dedrick Williams, 26, and Trayvon Newsome, 24, are charged with first-degree murder with a firearm and armed robbery with a firearm. They are accused of killing rapper XXXTentacion, whose real name is Jahseh Onfroy, during an armed robbery in 2018 in Florida. A fourth defendant, Robert Allen, took a plea deal for a 2nd-degree murder charge, and he is set to testify against his friends.
Just before the proceedings began with the jury being seated and opening statements, Williams’ attorney asked for a motion to be heard that the court should order Canadian rapper Drake to sit for a deposition in the trial. It appears that the defendants are raising doubt as to their involvement in XXXTentacion’s death due to his 2018 beef with Drake.
According to the attorney, neither Drake nor his lawyers have responded to requests by the defendants to appear for a zoom deposition. After getting no objections from the prosecution, the judge authorized the attorney to do a rule of show cause which is a direct subpoena under the courts with a purge date.
It’s unclear if Drake will comply with the request, but the judge noted that what the attorney wanted was “two steps” down the line, as he mentioned relevance to the trial.
Opening Statement by Prosecution
During the opening statement, prosecutor Pascale Achille began by sharing that Allen will take the stand to testify how he, along with the other three defendants, hired a car and carried masks and hoodies, and had firearms as they went out to commit robberies against any unsuspecting victim.
The prosecutor went on to detail how XXXTentacion was awoken by his mother and went to the bank to withdraw $250,000 to buy motorcycles at Riva Motor Sports. A video was played in court showing XXX beaming and smiling as he walked into the bank and waited in line before he spoke to the clerk but was only successful in getting $50,000.
The prosecutor went on to share that XXX was accompanied by his “step-uncle” Leanard Kerr to purchase the motorcycles, and while he was in Riva Sports, the two defendants – Allen and Williams, who were also in the store to buy neoprene masks, spot XXX and that’s when they began their plot to rob XXX. The prosecutor said that surveillance video caught them on tape watching the defendant, whom she says they identified as a celebrity due to his clothing and jewelry.
Immediately, the men plot to rob the rapper. Williams is the driver, and as soon as the rapper comes out of the only exit, he uses the car they are in to block XXX’s car, and that’s when the robbery turned murder takes place.
“Trayvon Newsome is one of the gunmen and Michael Boatright is the other gunman. Diedrick Williams’s driving cuts off the victim as he’s trying to exit Riva Motorsports and just as they planned, they were able to cut off the victim so that he can’t move his car without crashing it or whatever. And the two gunmen jumps out and immediately put guns in the victim’s face and Leonard Kerr’s face,” the prosecutor said.
The prosecutor says that the gunmen punch XXX in the face, and the rapper fights back as he tries to hang onto his bag. After taking the bag, Boatright shoots the rapper several times, killing him at close range.
During the six-hour hearing, the prosecutor shared that the fourth defendant- Allen’s testimony will include the conversations that took place after the robbery, including how Williams directed the money be divided and how the men bragged about the money on social media and their plan afterward as they skipped town after the surveillance video was shared across news stations.
In the meantime, Prosecutor Achille shared that evidence against the defendants includes firearm ballistics found at Williams’s home which matches evidence found on the victim and the scene, and eyewitness statements from Riva Motorsports employees who identified Williams as a regular in the store.
Autopsy photos will also be entered into evidence as well as crime scene photos and surveillance footage that ties the defendants together at the scene of the murder.
Defense Opening Statements
Joseph Kimok, the attorney for alleged gunman Michael Boatright in his opening statement, said that he was wrongly arrested by the police.
“The police in 2018 arrested the wrong man,” he said. The attorney claimed that Boatright was not involved in the robbery and murder and shared that the surveillance video from Riva Motorsports, in fact, has another man not arrested by police- Keith Grayly, who has the same build as Boatright, and the attorneys say that he is the shooter and not Boatright. The attorney also claimed that Boatright was at home in bed sleeping and nowhere near Riva Motorsports during the robbery.
The attorney does admit that his client took “stupid photos” with some money that Robert Allen had from the robbery. The lawyer later claims that his client became scared after seeing the news reports of the rapper being killed, and he searched on google “accessory to murder,” which is “strong evidence of his innocence,” as he was in the car used in the robbery before and after and he also took photos with the money.
The attorney also hinted that police had not done a thorough investigation as they “ignored” leads offered by others into the death of XXX.
There have been previous efforts by the defense to impute speculations that XXX’s mother, whom attorneys hinted benefitted from her son’s death, might have been involved, while there are claims that Drake and the Migos had reason to want to hurt XXX due to their beef.
On Tuesday, the prosecution called two witnesses, Cecelia Ramos, the Bank of America clerk that spoke to XXX, and his step-uncle Kerr who gave a moving and emotional testimony about the moments the rapper’s life was snuffed out.
Kerr, who is identified as the man seen fleeing the BMW motor vehicle when gunmen blocked the car, shared that the taller of the men (Boatright) pointed his gun at the rapper, and he also tried to rip off the rapper’s gold chain.
A stunned XXXTentacion asks, “What’s this for?” Kerr said as he opened the car door and fled.
“If I run, I can get shot, but I can live. If I sit….” Kerr said, recalling his decision. Kerr also recalled that he saw Boatright pointing his gun at XXXTenacion before he heard two loud sounds, and the men jumped into their Dodge SUV and escaped with the rapper’s $50,000.