Rapper 'G-Dep' Won't Plead Guilty to 1993 Murder

By DNAinfo Staff on September 22, 2011 12:45pm  | Updated on September 22, 2011 2:29pm

G-Dep poses for photos at the World Hip-Hop Championship on May 3, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
G-Dep poses for photos at the World Hip-Hop Championship on May 3, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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Denise Truscello/WireImage

MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — A rapper who turned himself in for an East Harlem cold case murder — not realizing the victim had died — is refusing to plead guilty despite confessing because prosecutors won't cut him a break, a Manhattan judge indicated Thursday.

Trevell Coleman, 36, whose stage name is G-Dep, admitted to a 17-year-old shooting when he turned himself in late in 2010. But he did not know at the time that the victim had died and admitted to the violent Oct. 19, 1993 act because he was trying to clear his guilty conscience after a life of crime and substance abuse, his attorney, Anthony Ricco said.

The victim, John Henkel, was shot by the then-18-year-old Coleman with a .40 caliber handgun three times in a failed robbery on East 114th Street and Park Avenue, according to court papers.

But despite confessing, Coleman will not be pleading guilty to murder because prosecutors do not plan to give him a break, Ricco said after a court hearing Thursday at which Coleman did not appear. 

The DA's office said it would only offer a plea to the top count, murder in the second degree, which carries a maximum prison term of 25 years to life.

"It is my understanding that the parties have not been able to reach an agreement," Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus said after a brief conference with Ricco and Assistant District Attorney David Drucker.

"The people are not willing to offer anything other than a plea to the [top count]," the judge added.

Prosecutors said it's common that plea deals are not made in murder cases.

Ricco told reporters after the hearing that he "did not understand" why prosecutors would not cut a deal, adding that the case "would have remained ice cold," had Coleman not turned himself in.

A trial date was set for Nov. 10.