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G.Dep Murder Case Heads to the Jury

By Sonja Sharp | April 16, 2012 3:19pm
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 — The case against a former up-and-coming rapper who turned himself in on an East Harlem shooting before he realized it was a murder has gone to the jury.

Anthony Ricco, who represents Trevell Coleman — whose stage name is G.Dep — said cops set up his client as a fall guy to close a cold case, and called jurors' attention to the host of differences in the details between the shooting Coleman confessed to and the details of the fatal 1993 shooting of John Henkel with which he's charged. 

"People have given extraordinary confessions — videotaped, shown on television — only to find out that they were unreliable, and the product of the need to close the case," Ricco told jurors during a nearly two-hour closing argument Monday morning.

Ricco cited dozens of discrepencies in police testimony and records, and hinted that detectives had manipulated Coleman's confession to fit Henkel's case.

"Were the officers who testified about this confession honest and forthright? Or did they hide information, feign a lack of knowledge, or change what they said when the moment and situation required it?"

Coleman turned himself in late in 2010, and confessed to the Oct. 19, 1993 East Harlem shooting, because he was trying to clear his guilty conscience after a life of crime and substance abuse, his attorney said previously. Coleman did not know at the time he turned himself in that the shooting was fatal.

Henkel was shot with a .40 caliber handgun three times in a failed robbery on East 114th Street and Park Avenue, according to court papers.

Ricco also compared the prosecution's case against Coleman to the scandal of Rosie Ruiz, who cheated her way to a first place finish in the Boston Marathon in 1980 only to be discredited later. 

"Don't stop at the finish line," Ricco said. "Look at how he got there."

But prosecutor David Drucker cautioned jurors that by fixating on these minute details, they risked "missing the forest for the trees."

"Don't get so caught up in the tiny little details that you lose sight of the big picture," Drucker said. "The jacket style, the man’s hairstyle? Who cares? If it even entered a man’s mind, it wouldn’t have stuck there for seventeen minutes, much less seventeen years."