NEW YORK (AP) — Rapper G. Dep stunned police by suddenly confessing to a nearly 20-year-old shooting, then went to trial arguing that his admission might have been mismatched to a murder.
The rapper, who flirted with fame in the late 1990s and early 2000s, was convicted Tuesday in an unusual cold case that he both reopened and ultimately fought, though he never contested his December 2010 admission. Indeed, he and his lawyers characterized it as a bid to unburden and redeem himself.
The 37-year-old rapper hugged his lawyer after hearing the jury's verdict, which leaves him facing at least 15 years in prison at his sentencing, set for May 8.
Regardless, he remains convinced he did the right thing by coming forward, defense lawyer Anthony Ricco said.
"He has a conscience and a heart, and his conscience and his heart brought him to where he is today," Ricco said after court. ". He's probably making the most powerful statement a rapper of his era can make, which is to be accountable and to do the right thing."
Prosecutors, though, saw G. Dep as a man who'd committed a deliberate and deadly crime, then provided the proof years later.
"Eighteen years ago, the defendant made a calculated decision to steal from, shoot, and kill an innocent person on the street," Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said in a statement.
The rapper, born Trevell Coleman, made his surprise confession in late 2010, almost a decade after his career's brief heyday. As part of rap impresario Sean "Diddy" Combs' roster of talent at Bad Boy Records in the late 1990s and early 2000s, G. Dep scored 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.
His career lost steam, and his life spiraled into disarray and a slate of arrests on drug, trespassing and other charges. But he had finished a drug-treatment program and had released a new album online in the months before he went to a police precinct to say he'd fired at someone on a Harlem corner when he was about 17 to 19.
"I couldn't move on and keep trying to satisfy myself if I didn't deal with that," he told the hip hop magazine XXL in a jailhouse interview published in June. " ... I didn't know what was going to be the outcome, but that was the only way I knew to deal with it."