By Jesse Gissen
Former Bad Boy rapper G. Dep (born Trevell Coleman) was greeted by his family and friends when he arrived in a New York City courtroom on Tuesday to receiving his sentencing in a murder trial stemming from a 1993 incident. Dep was given the mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years to life for the death for killing Harlem resident John Henkel during a failed robbery.
The Harlem MC made headlines in 2010 after he confessed — unprovoked — that he had committed the crime in a surprising admission to police at Manhattan’s 25th precinct. At the time, Dep said he longed to clear his conscience.
The prosecution took this factor into account when asking Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus for the minimum sentence, saying if it weren’t for Coleman, they never would have been able to solve the crime. “This case was as closed as a case could be,” Manhattan Assistant District Attorney David Drucker reminded the court.
Dep’s attorney, Anthony L. Ricco, mirrored those same sentiments in his final statement to the judge. “The first step towards rehabilitation [is] the recognition that the individual [has] done something wrong and their willingness to put themselves forward to take recognition for it,” he said. “Trevell Coleman did this.”
Given the odd nature of the case, Obus commended Coleman before announcing his sentence.
“I’m sure there are people that are second-guessing your decision [to confess to the crime], and there will be people that will second-guess it,” he told Dep. “Perhaps it wasn’t the best legal strategy, but certainly it was the right thing to do, even though it landed you in the position that you are in now.”
While Dep declined to comment during the sentencing, MTV News spoke to him days after the jury found him guilty of the crime and he seemed at peace with the verdict.
“However it went down, it was just one of them things where I knew I was facing some type of charge, so whatever the verdict was, I knew it was God’s will,” he said over the phone from Rikers Island. “You know, someone was taken from [the Henkel] family, so I can’t feel like I was robbed in any kind of way. I just want to thank everyone that was involved in the case. I don’t have no ill thoughts towards anybody.”
G. Dep signed to Diddy’s Bad Boy Records in 1998 and went on to release his debut LP, Child of the Ghetto, in 2001. The record spawned two well-received singles, “Let’s Get It” and “Special Delivery,” but Dep’s rap career failed to take off. By 2003, he had parted ways with Bad Boy. Coleman took another stab at the industry, dropping a mixtape the following year, but his various arrests and battles with drug abuse thwarted those efforts.
Dep’s lawyer, Anthony L. Ricco, is currently working on an appeal.