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4 indicted in Florida shooting death of rapper XXXTentacion

Friday, July 20, 2018

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FLORIDA, United States (AP) — A Florida grand jury has indicted four men on first-degree murder and armed robbery charges in the shooting death of emerging rap star XXXTentacion.

Broward County panel formally charged Dedrick Williams, 22; Michael Boatwright, 22; Trayvon Newsome, 20; and Robert Allen, 22, on Wednesday, court records showed.

According to a warrant filed in Boatwright's case, the car driven by XXXTentacion, whose real name was Jahseh Onfroy, was blocked by a dark-coloured SUV as it was exiting the Riva Motor Sports motorcycle shop. Two masked men got out of the SUV with a gun intending to rob XXXTentacion, who had a Louis Vitton bag containing US$50,000 in cash, police said.

A struggled ensued and the 20-year-old rapper was shot multiple times by one or more gunman, who took the bag and fled. The indictment names Boatwright as the person who fatally shot XXXTentacion. Williams was arrested two days after the shooting, and Boatwright was arrested earlier this month on an unrelated drug charge. Authorities continue to search for Allen and Newsome.

At least one of the suspects, Williams, was seen in the store on surveillance cameras while XXXTentacion was shopping. A store clerk said Williams purchased a black neoprene mask and that he recognised Williams as a repeat customer, according to the warrant.

Williams later told police he was with others at the motorcycle shop but did not know in advance they intended to rob the rapper. Authorities say Williams drove the SUV.

"Williams stated that he wanted to tell the truth ... Williams stated he was fearful of being labelled a snitch when he went to prison," the warrant says.

Later, police said Williams' girlfriend told them he had told her he was involved but that it was Boatwright and Newsome who carried out the actual robbery and slaying. Police also found cell phone data on Boatwright's phone indicating it was near the motorcycle shop at the time of the killing. Other evidence includes cell phone video and photos with three of the suspects holding large amounts of US$100 bills, police said.

XXXTentacion, who sported dreadlocks and facial tattoos and who pronounced his name "Ex ex ex ten-ta-see-YAWN," was a platinum-selling rising star who tackled issues including prejudice and depression in his songs. He also drew criticism over bad behaviour and multiple arrests, including charges that he severely beat and abused his girlfriend.

Messages sent to attorneys for Boatwright and Williams weren't immediately returned. It wasn't immediately known if the other two had attorneys.

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