Defense in XXXTentacion murder trial suggests Drake could be tied to slaying

The defense lawyers for the three men accused of murdering rapper XXXTentacion floated the possibility that rap superstar Drake might have actually been behind the 2018 slaying.

Suspects Michael Boatwright, Trayvon Newsome and Dedrick Williams are accused of carrying out the fatal shooting outside a Florida motorcycle store in what prosecutors alleged was a robbery that escalated to a cold-blooded killing.

Each suspect is facing a first-degree murder charge.

But the legal team for the three defendants argued that investigators did not probe XXXTentacion’s simmering feud with Drake in the aftermath of the 20-year-old’s untimely death. The rapper, whose real name is Jahseh Onfroy, once claimed on social media that if he ever ended up dead, Drake was the reason, though he later retracted that bold statement.

The rapper’s death came four months after 17 people were killed in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which the defense argued put the highly scrutinized Broward County Sheriff’s Office under pressure to solve XXXTentacion’s murder quickly without fully exploring the other suspects, including a celebrity.

“For Broward County, for everyone involved, this was a nightmare,” one of the lawyers, Mauricio Padilla, told jurors.

XXXTentacion performs during the second day of the Rolling Loud Festival in downtown Miami, Fla. on Saturday, May 6, 2017.
XXXTentacion was killed in 2018 during a botched robbery attempt, prosecutors said.
Tribune News Service via Getty I

Prosecutors say the shooting was the result of a robbery gone wrong, and there is no evidence linking Drake to the deadly gunfire.  

Boatwright, Trayvon and Williams are accused of going to Riva Motorsports on June 18, 2018, to buy masks with plans to commit armed robberies, but decided to target XXXTentacion when they saw him inside the store, prosecutors said.

As the rapper left the store in his BMW, Williams cut off the sports car with his SUV as Boatwright and Newsome rushed XXXTentacion’s car to rob him, prosecutor Pascale Achille said in court.

Rapper Drake
The defense tried to insinuate that Drake was involved in the rapper’s death.
Mike Marsland/WireImage

The trio grabbed about $50,000 that XXXTentacion had in a Louis Vuitton bag before Boatwright shot him multiple times “without any provocation,” she said.

The trio of men are tied to the shooting through surveillance footage and cellphone spots, as well as the testimony of Robert Allen, a fourth man implicated in the rapper’s death who took a plea deal and is expected to testify during the trial, Achille said during her opening.

Suspected shooting accomplice Trayvon Newsome, left, and shooting suspect Michael Boatwright enter the courtroom for opening statements in the XXXTentacion murder trial at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023.
Suspected shooting accomplice Trayvon Newsome and shooting suspect Michael Boatwright enter the courtroom for opening statements Tuesday.

Some of the men also allegedly flashed the cash they swiped on social media.

“They go on social media and start bragging that they have this influx of cash,” Achille said. “They flash it like it’s Christmas Day.”

Boatwright’s lawyer, Joseph Kimok, said his client was home asleep at the time of the killing and cellphone data linked to him was a community phone used by several men. While he appeared with the money on social media that prosecutors mentioned, the money belonged to Allen and not Boatwright, he said. 

Newsome’s attorney also argued his client was not at the scene.

Attorneys Skyler Hill, left, and Joseph Kimok confer as shooting suspect Michael Boatwright is shown at the defense table just before opening statements.
Attorneys Skyler Hill and Joseph Kimok confer as shooting suspect Michael Boatwright is shown at the defense table just before opening statements.

If Boatwright, 28, Williams, 26, and Newsome, 24, are convicted of first-degree murder, they would face life in prison. They also face robbery charges.

Allen, 26, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last year.

The rapper, whose stage name is pronounced “ex-ex-ex-ten-ta-see-YAWN,” was a platinum-selling rising star who delved into prejudice and depression in his songs, but also drew heat over multiple arrests, including allegations he severely beat up and abused his girlfriend

With Post wires

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