XXXTentacion Murder Trial: Verdict Is In (UPDATED)

Michael Boatwright, who fired the three shots that killed XXXTentacion (real name Jaseh Onfory), stands to be handcuffed as Judge Michael Usan reads the jury's verdicts on March 20, 2023.
Michael Boatwright, who fired the three shots that killed XXXTentacion (real name Jaseh Onfory), stands to be handcuffed as Judge Michael Usan reads the jury's verdicts on March 20, 2023. Law&Crime Network screenshot via YouTube
Update 12:45 p.m. 3/20/2023: Following more than 24 hours of deliberations spread out over seven days, the jury in the trial of the three men accused of robbing and killing South Florida rapper XXXTentacion, has returned a verdict.

Jurors found Michael Boatwright, Trayvon Newsome, and Dedrick Williams guilty of first-degree murder and armed robbery.

Along with a fourth defendant, Robert Allen, who pleaded guilty and testified against his former cohorts at the trial, the trio ambushed XXXTentacion (real name: Jahseh Onfroy) as he was leaving Reva Motorsports on the afternoon of June 18, 2018. Allen fingered Boatwright as the masked gunman who shot the rapper three times, Newsome as a second masked gunman who stole the $50,000 in cash stuffed in a Louis Vuitton bag, and Williams as the getaway driver.

Boatwright, dressed in a gray suit and black turtleneck, Newsome, dressed in a white suit and brown print dress shirt, and Williams, dressed in a checkered shirt and dark slacks, sat quietly and showed no expressions as the verdicts were read aloud by Judge Michael Usan, who presided over the case.

Update 9:30 a.m. 3/17/2023:
The jury in the XXXTentacion murder trial ended deliberations early this week without reaching a verdict on charges against Michael Boatwright, Trayvon Newsome and Dedrick Williams, the three men accused of killing the South Florida rapper. On Thursday afternoon, March 16, Judge Michael Usan granted jurors' request to take Friday off so they could tend to personal matters. The jury will reconvene at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, March 20. During his verdict instructions last week, Usan requested that the jury shoot for a target date of March 31.

Original story is below:

This morning, March 15, the jury weighing the fate of the three men accused of murdering South Florida rapper XXXTentacion (real name: Jahseh Onfroy) began its fifth day of deliberations. Michael Boatwright, Dedrick Williams, and Trayvon Newsome could spend the rest of their lives in prison if jurors convict them of first-degree murder and armed robbery.

But each day that passes with no verdict brings slim hope to the defendants.

"Usually, the longer a jury takes to reach a verdict, the better the odds for the defense," Miami-based criminal defense attorney Rick Yabor tells New Times. "That's the general rule of thumb."

However, the jury could be taking its time meticulously going over each piece of evidence to determine the level of guilt for each of the defendants, adds Yabor, who is not involved in the XXXTentacion murder case. "You don't know what the jury is debating about," he says. "That's why trials are so risky."

It's also possible that the jury will return different outcomes for each of the defendants, verdicts that could include convictions for second-degree murder or manslaughter.

Over the course of 30 days, Broward County state prosecutors presented a mountain of physical evidence, including crucial data from two iPhones allegedly owned by Boatwright and Williams, that appears to corroborate the testimony of Robert Allen, a fourth member of the crew who pleaded guilty last summer for his alleged role in XXXTentacion's killing.

Allen, who took the stand in February as the prosecution's star witness, told jurors about how he, Boatwright, Williams, and Newsome staked out XXXTentacion at Reva Motorsports in Deerfield Beach on June 18, 2018, with the intent to rob the 20-year-old rapper. The four men, riding in a Dodge Journey SUV, blocked off XXXTentacion's BMW i8 sports car as he pulled out of Reva's parking lot, Allen said.

Williams was behind the wheel of the SUV, while Boatwright and Newsome were the masked armed gunmen who confronted XXXTentacion, Allen testified. Boatwright shot XXXTentacion three times, while Newsome snatched a Louis Vuitton bag filled with $50,000 in cash from the Beemer's passenger side, Allen recalled. XXXTentacion died after being transported to a nearby hospital.

Homicide detectives quickly zeroed in on Williams and Allen based on Reva surveillance video footage that showed the pair inside the store at the same time as XXXTentacion. Cameras outside Reva captured the SUV lying in wait in a parking lot across the street, the Dodge cutting off the BMW, the two robbers attacking XXXTentacion, and the getaway car speeding off after they stole the loot.
click to enlarge
Michael Boatwright, Dedrick Williams, and Trayvon Newsome are on trial for the 2018 murder of Broward rapper XXXTentacion.
Broward Sheriff's Office mug shots
The prosecution also presented jurors with data mined from the aforementioned iPhones that placed Boatwright and Williams at Reva the entire time XXXTentacion was there. The geolocation information on the devices also supported Allen's testimony about the quartet's whereabouts before and after the robbery-homicide. And the phones contained photos and videos of the four men flashing thousands of dollars in crisp $100 bills shortly after XXXTentacion was shot.

Tony Robinson and Tenell Carter — two women who were close to Williams — testified about what they knew about the four men's movements leading up to the slaying. And homicide investigators recovered unused bullets at the homes of Boatwright and Williams that match the slugs that were removed from XXXTentacion's body.

Defense lawyers for Boatwright, Williams, and Newsome have argued that the evidence fails to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that their clients participated in the robbery-homicide. Joseph Kimok and George Reres, the attorneys representing Boatwright and Newsome, respectively, told jurors during the trial's closing arguments that their clients weren't even present at Reva when the robbery-homicide took place. Williams' lawyer, Mauricio Padilla, has acknowledged his client was at Reva on June 18, 2018, but argued that law enforcement failed to pursue other persons of interest and possible suspects, including the Canadian rapper Drake, who allegedly had beef with XXXTentacion.

Earlier this week, jurors requested to review the data salvaged from the two iPhones, as well as a printout of the text messages Boatwright sent and received on June 17 and 18, 2018.

The phone data is damning, but it's not enough for a conviction, Yabor tells New Times. "It's good evidence that when taken together with all the other evidence is enough for a conviction," he says. "But you need that additional evidence because the phone data could just put someone at the wrong place at the wrong time."
KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.

Latest Stories