Three men have been found guilty in the 2018 murder of rapper XXXTentacion, who was just 20 years old when he was gunned down outside a motorcycle shop in Florida, US.
Dedrick Williams, 26, Trayvon Newsome, 24, and Michael Boatwright, 28, were convicted of first-degree murder and armed robbery on Monday after a Broward County, Florida jury deliberated for more than seven days. They will all be sentenced to life in prison due to Florida law, New York Post reports.
The trio robbed the rapper, whose real name was Jahseh Onfroy, of $US50,000 during the fatal heist on June 18, 2018, and brazenly took videos flashing wads of stolen cash in the immediate aftermath of his death.
Robert Allen, a fourth man involved in the robbery, had pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last year and testified against the three other defendants but has yet to be sentenced.
Defence lawyers for the trio made wild accusations during the trial, including that authorities should have looked at other suspects like the rapper Drake because he had a feud with XXXTentacion.
The rapper was on his way out of Riva Motorsports when an SUV swerved in front of his car and blocked him in just before 4pm.
Security footage of the incident shows him being confronted by two masked gunmen, one of whom was Boatwright, who shot him multiple times.
The men grabbed his Louis Vuitton bag full of cash inside his car and drove away.
Newsome was identified as the other gunman and Williams was said to be the driver of the SUV. Allen was inside the car while the killing happened.
Prosecutors used a broad swath of damning evidence to convict the three men, including text messages from the suspects.
Shortly after shooting the rapper dead, Boatwright sent a text telling someone, “Tell my brother I got the money for the new phone,” along with a screenshot of a story saying XXXTentacion had been shot. Prosecutors also showed the jury a search Boatwright had made for “accessory to murder”.
While Boatwright admitted to taking photos with the stolen cash, his lawyer insisted he was not the murderer.
Allen told jurors that killing the rising music star was not planned far in advance, but that the four men had set out to steal from someone that day. The group was headed to the motorcycle shop to buy Williams a mask when they spotted XXXTentacion and decided to rob him, Allen said, who identified Williams as the leader of the group.
XXXTentacion was a rising star in rap music known for his songs about depression and alienation. He was marred in controversy at the time of his death and had been accused of assaulting and abusing his girlfriend, among a slew of other crimes.
The rapper had posted a video on Instagram just a few before his death in which he foreshadowed his own violent demise.
This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission
Originally published at www.news.com.au