Jury selection has begun in the trial of three men accused of fatally shooting Florida rapper XXXTentacion in 2018 after robbing him of a Louis Vuitton bag stuffed with $50,000 in cash.
The rhymer, whose real name is Jahsey Onfroy, had just emerged from a motorcycle dealership in Deerfield Beach and climbed into the driver’s seat of a BMW with a friend when an SUV pulled up and blocked their path.
Surveillance video of the ambush shows two hooded men jumping out of the vehicle and rushing to confront Onfroy, who was 20 at the time.
The rapper’s friend jumps out of the car during the stickup before the assailants grab the money-stuffed satchel, blast Onfroy several times in the neck and speed off.
Shooting suspect Michael Boatwright, 28, and his accused accomplices, Dedrick Williams, 26, and Trayvon Newsome, 24, could all get life if convicted.
Prosecutors assert that Boatwright and Newsome were the two men seen on the video jumping out of the SUV, with the former firing the shots that killed the rapper.
A fourth suspect in the case, Robert Allen, 26. pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last year and is expected to testify against his accomplices at trial.
Defense attorneys are expected to argue that Onfroy has a long list of other nemeses with a motivation to rob the popular artist and that their clients are innocent of the raps against them.
But prosecutors counter that surveillance cameras caught two of the suspects parking the SUV outside the dealership after Onfroy and his friend entered and later followed the men inside the store.
That video shows Onfroy briefly looking at the two men as they walked by him just minutes before his slaying.
XXXTentacion, whose morose lyrics about alienation and depression attracted a loyal cult following, was born in Plantation, Florida and raised in Fort Lauderdale.
He famously feuded with the likes of Drake and the Migos, and was considered one of the most controversial rap artists of his era.
The trial, taking place in Fort Lauderdale, is expected to continue through March.