When rapper G. Dep turned himself in for a nearly 2-decade-old shooting, he told police he wanted to clear his conscience.
He found out Tuesday what the consequences would be: 15 years to life in prison, the minimum term for his murder conviction. A judge, prosecutors and even the jury foreman said he deserved credit for coming forward when he’d never been suspected in the long-cold case.
“It may not be the best legal strategy, but, certainly, it was the right thing to do,” Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus said, “even though it landed you in the situation you’re in now.”
With that, the 37-year-old rapper – who had a brush with fame in the late 1990s and early 2000s – walked slowly out of the courtroom, looking back at his wife, mother and a couple of longtime family friends in the audience. He didn’t speak at his sentencing, but his lawyer, Anthony L. Ricco, said G. Dep was at peace with his decision to speak up.
“He was in search of his redemption and his honor, and some might say that he achieved that,” Ricco said after court.
The sentencing capped a case with uncommon contours from the moment the rapper revived it by walking into a police stationhouse in late 2010. He told police he’d shot someone while trying to rob him on a street corner years earlier.
Then came an unusual trial in which he acknowledged confessing but argued that police might have mismatched his account to the October 1993 shooting of John Henkel, 32.
G. Dep was convicted last month – a decision jurors made “with a heavy heart,” foreman Jim Nelson wrote to Obus in a letter asking for leniency for the rapper, born Trevell Coleman.
“I, and I believe many others, have been moved by Mr. Coleman’s story and by what he did in listening to his conscience and coming forward after all these years,” wrote Nelson, the editor-in-chief of GQ magazine. His name was redacted in court records but appeared in an editor’s letter he wrote about the case in the magazine’s June issue. (“We found him guilty, because he was, and no one’s excusing anything,” he noted there.)
G. Dep became part of rap impresario Sean “Diddy” Combs’ slate of up-and-comers at Bad Boy Records in the late 1990s and early 2000s. G. Dep had a rap-chart hit with “Special Delivery,” and the video for his “Let’s Get It” helped popularize a loose-limbed dance called the Harlem shake before his career dwindled.
“He achieved some fame in the music industry. … But that success was not able to overcome that sense of remorse and guilt that he had about what he had done one night in his teenage years,” Ricco told the judge Tuesday.
The rapper sank into drug use and a roster of arrests on drug, trespassing and other charges.
But he finished a drug-rehabilitation program and had released a new album online in the months before he went to tell police he’d fired at someone during an attempted holdup on a Harlem corner when he was about 17 to 19. He said he’d fled on a bicycle, unsure whether the man had been hit.
Authorities paired details in his account – including the location, gun caliber and rough timeframe – with Henkel’s death.
Ricco, meanwhile, pointed to discrepancies, including in G. Dep’s description of the man he’d robbed. He has said the rapper plans to appeal.
During the trial, prosecutors portrayed G. Dep as a man who coldly shot a stranger. But at the sentencing, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney David Drucker emphasized the rapper’s choice to come forward.
“He had no ulterior motive, nothing to gain, other than within himself,” Drucker said.
G. Dep, who has three school-age children, told MTV News last month he has “no ill thoughts towards anybody” about the trial and outcome.
“Someone was taken from (the Henkel) family, so I can’t feel like I was robbed in any kind of way,” he told the network by phone from jail.
Henkel’s relatives didn’t attend the trial or sentencing. One of his brothers, Werner, has said he’s thankful the justice system saw the case through.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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