Rapper who willingly confessed to cold-case murder 17 years later reveals what drove his decision

Posted July 13

Rapper G. Dep had a deep, dark secret that haunted him for years — a criminal act that pervasively ate away at his conscience until he finally made a decision that left many critics calling him a fool: he confessed.

G. Dep, whose real name is Trevell Coleman, could have quite possibly gotten away with murder. After all, it was 2010 when he confessed to fatally shooting a man during a New York City robbery — an incident that unfolded back in 1993.

Coleman was 18 years old on Oct. 18, 1993, when he tried to rob John Henkel, a man he encountered near a 114th Street subway station, pulling out a pistol in an attempt to intimidate the victim into handing over cash.

But Henkel reportedly tried to grab for the gun, with Coleman responding by firing three shots before fleeing the scene, New York Magazine reported.

For years, Coleman had no idea whether Henkel had lived or died, though he later learned that he was, indeed, guilty of murder — and is now paying the price.

What makes the case so perplexing is that Coleman initially got away with the crime. But while he could have lived in silence and under the radar, the ex-rapper later said that the crime took a toll on him, as he struggled for years with drugs and built up an arrest record.

The shooting simply wouldn't escape his mind, as he was haunted by what unfolded. It was after attending a 30-day rehab program in 2010 that Coleman said that he realized he wasn't properly confronting his past.

"A lot of people were really cleansing their souls and really getting to the root of their problems. I was not," he told New York Magazine. "I would just be embellishing, telling stories about getting high. I wasn’t being totally honest."

Not able to live with himself, he finally visited the 25th police precinct in New York City to try to find out what happened to Henkel. He left his cellphone number with a detective, but never heard back. So, he tried again.

It was on Dec. 15, 2010, that Coleman once again slipped off to the local police station to tell authorities that he was responsible for Henkel's death.

That time, police listened, and Coleman's fate was sealed. After confessing, he went on trial, was convicted of second-degree murder and was sentenced on May 8, 2012, to 15 years in prison.

"I think I was just at a point where enough is enough," Coleman later told ABC News. "It never went away, me thinking about it, so it was like I had to do something about it."

The admission reportedly even led family members of Henkel to criticize Coleman for speaking out, saying that the revelation brought painful memories back to the surface, the Associated Press reported.

Here is his confession to police.

But Coleman — who found some success as a member of rapper Puff Daddy's Bad Boy crew before being dropped by the label — felt that admitting the crime was the right thing to do, with his attorneys acknowledging at the time that many thought that the decision was foolish.

"Conscience drove him to do something … he thinks he did the right thing," Anthony L. Ricco, his defense attorney, told the Associated Press. "There's a lot of people who think he's a fool for doing this. He doesn't think he's a fool."

Ricco continued, "He says this has been like a blessing. It's saved his life."

In a 2013 interview with ABC News, Coleman said that confessing was essential for him to move past what had unfolded.

"That was the only way I could have been absolved," he said. "Personal sacrifice."

According to Christian Today, Coleman also explained his decision by proclaiming, "I wanted to get right with God."

Coleman's case is getting renewed interest as he is slated to appear on BBC's "Heart and Soul: The Dilemma" to share his story this upcoming weekend.

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