Social Navigation

Jurors see cell phone records of XXXTentacion’s accused killers


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Jurors in the trial of three accused men of the murder of up-and-coming rap star XXXTentacion concluded their fourth day of deliberation Monday by reviewing nearly 1,200 text messages and several videos and photos seized from two of their cell phones.

Some of the videos and photos showed the defendants flashing handfuls of $100 bills hours after the XXXTentacion shooting on June 18, 2018 a motorcycle dealership in suburban Fort Lauderdale. He was killed by two armed robbers who stole $50,000 he was carrying in a Louis Vuitton purse.

There was also a photo of a news website story 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 pedicab with a woman, and a Father’s Day greeting. .

The jurors made their request in the afternoon asking for the records of the phones of alleged gunman Michael Boatwright, 28, and accused getaway driver and ringleader Dedrick Williams, 26, from the day before and the day of the shooting.

During that time Williams sent and received more than 950 text messages and Boatwright had more than 200. Jurors had to crowd at a projection screen in the front of the courtroom to read them; they could not be read from the gallery.

The jurors did not request records from the phones of alleged second gunman Trayvon Newsome, 24, or alleged co-conspirator Robert Allen, 26. Allen testified against his former friends after pleading guilty to manslaughter last year.

Boatwright, Williams and Newsome are charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery and face life sentences if convicted. Prosecutors have not sought the death penalty. The jurors have been deliberating about 15 hours since getting the case late Wednesday after four weeks of testimony. Deliberations will resume on Tuesday.

XXXTentacion, whose real name was Jahseh Onfroy, had just left Riva Motorsports, where he had been eyeing motorcycles to buy, when his BMW was blocked by an SUV that swerved in front of him.

Surveillance video showed two masked gunmen emerging and confronting the 20-year-old rapper at the driver’s window, and one shot him repeatedly. They then grabbed the bag with the money, got back into the SUV and ran away. The friend was not injured.

Allen testified that the men left that day to commit robberies and went to the motorcycle shop to buy a mask for Williams. There they saw the rapper and decided to make him their target. Allen and Williams entered the store to confirm it was him.

They then went back to the SUV they rented, waited for XXXTentacion to emerge and ambushed him, according to testimony. Prosecutors said surveillance videos from the dealer, cell phone records and the videos of the men flashing money link them to the shooting.

The men’s lawyers said Allen is lying and their DNA was not found on the artist. Lawyers for some of the men said that while the money-flashing videos were “dumb,” they don’t prove their clients were actually involved in the shooting and robbery.

The rapper, who pronounced his name as “Ex ex ex ten-ta-see-YAWN,” was a platinum-selling rising star who tackled issues of prejudice and depression in his songs. He was also criticized for bad behavior and multiple arrests, including allegations that he severely beat and abused his girlfriend.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.