One of the defendants in the recent XXXTentacion trial is appealing his verdict days after he was sentenced to life in prison by a circuit court judge.
Defendant Trayvon Newsome, along with co-defendants Michael Boatwright, 28, and Deidrick Williams, 26, were all sentenced to life in prison earlier this week. The men were found guilty of armed robbery with a firearm and first-degree last month after one of the longest jury deliberations seen in Florida.
Newsome is, however, appealing the sentence and says that the court and Judge erred on several grounds during the trial. According to AllHipHop, Newsome is arguing that the evidence presented to the jury was not convincing enough to support the verdict and sentence that they received. He also argues that the sentence was excessive and contrary to the laws of the state of Florida.
Newsome also argues that the Judge overruled several objections from his counsel while simultaneously sustaining objections by the prosecution. He also mentioned that the Judge erred when his lawyer rejected his motion for a mistrial.
Along with those arguments, he adds that the Judge did not give proper directions to the jury leading to “improper prejudicial evidence” being given to the jury. It seems that during the deliberations, when the jury requested additional evidence to be given to them, Newsome claimed this was prejudicial to his case. However, on almost all of the occasions, the jury requested additional evidence. Judge Michael Usan either denied their requests in whole or asked that they amend it to be precise before granting it or denied it altogether.
During the sentencing, Judge Usan directly addressed Newsome before handing down his sentence, life in prison with a 10-year minimum mandatory sentence for first-degree murder, and on count two, he was sentenced to life in prison. The sentences are to run concurrently.
The Judge especially pointed out that Newsome, who was the second gunman (but not the one who killed XXXTentacion), is getting the same sentence as his co-defendants because of the Law of Principals, which he explained ensures that any party that was an essential part of a crime without his participation the crime would not have been committed.
“You Sir are a perfect example of why we have in this state a felony murder rule,” the Judge said while addressing Newsome. “I’m pretty sure you having sat through the trial that you did not wake up that morning and say to yourself that ‘I’m gonna kill somebody today and I’m gonna hook up with people who will murder someone but you did go for an armed robbery,” the Judge said adding that the law said when they decided to rob people, it was a “predictable and foreseeable outcome” that using a gun could result in the death of their victim.
Newsome’s lawyer had argued during the trial that the indictment should be separated. According to him, the Judge should have granted the motion to separate the trial because his co-defendants Willams and Boatwright’s defenses were different. The weaknesses of their defenses caused Newsome’s right to a fair trial to be impugned because it cast negative implications for him.
It’s unclear if the other defendants plan to appeal the trial. They have 30 days to file a motion.
XXXTentacion, whose real name is Jahseh Onfroy, was shot dead on June 20, 2018, during a robbery in Deerfield Beach, Florida.