FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Jury deliberations for the trial of three men accused of murdering rising rap star XXXTentacion during a 2018 robbery will resume Monday after the panel finished a seventh day of deliberations Thursday without reaching a verdict.
The seven women and five men had asked Circuit Judge Michael Usan if they could have Friday off to take care of personal appointments, and the judge granted the request. Earlier Thursday, jurors had asked to view the defendants’ social media accounts, as well as GPS data or maps to calculate distance between points mentioned in the case. The judge denied those requests, saying the verdict must be based on evidence presented during the trial.
Michael Boatwright, 28 and the accused shooter; Dedrick Williams, 26 and the accused ringleader and getaway driver; and Trayvon Newsome, 24 and the alleged second gunman, are charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery. They face mandatory life sentences if convicted. Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty.
During the monthlong trial, prosecutors tried to link the men to the shooting outside Riva Motorsports in suburban Fort Lauderdale through extensive surveillance video taken inside and outside the store, plus cellphone videos they took of them flashing $100 bills. Prosecutors also had the testimony of a fourth man, Robert Allen, a former friend of the defendants who said he participated in the robbery. He pleaded guilty last year to second-degree murder and awaits sentencing.
Defense attorneys have accused Allen of being a liar trying to avoid a life sentence. They also said prosecutors and detectives did a poor investigation that didn’t look at other possible suspects, including the Canadian rap star Drake — he and XXXTentacion had an online feud.
XXXTentacion, whose real name was Jahseh Onfroy, was a platinum-selling rising star who tackled issues including prejudice and depression in his songs. He also drew criticism over bad behavior and multiple arrests, including charges that he severely beat and abused his girlfriend.