Last month, former Bad Boy rapper G-Dep was found guilty by a jury for a murder he admitted to committing back when he was a teenager. It turns out the jury had a pretty random member: GQ editor Jim Nelson, who served on the jury that put G-Dep away. Nelson wrote about the experience, talking about how he felt conflicted about G-Dep, because he clearly did 20 years in his own head thinking about how he did this murder and wasn’t being held accountable. It’s an interesting look at what it’s like to be on a jury, and it’s especially interesting because it’s such a weird story. To recap: G-Dep killed someone when he was a teen, then walked into a police station 17 years later and confessed. You can read the whole thing here. Here’s a sampling:
He was a teenager, out of work, living in the projects with his grandma. One day he bought a gun from another guy, a .40-caliber semiautomatic, and decided to use it to rob someone. Late, past midnight one night, he jumped on his bike and went scouting the neighborhood. He spotted a light-skinned man smoking underneath the elevated railroad tracks on Park Avenue and 114th Street, and figured he was easy prey. Walked up to the guy, told him to hand over his money. Instead, the man, who had six bucks in his pocket and PCP in his system, grabbed for the gun, and a brief struggle ensued. Trevell Coleman fired three shots. The man winced. Trevell managed to break free and flee on his bike—the guy was still lumbering after him but wilted in the middle of the road—and so Trevell, looking back, wondered: Did I get him? Bad? He would wonder that for seventeen years.
I never knew this until after the trial—the judge must have limited what we were told about the defendant, and I didn’t recognize him—but Trevell Coleman, I later learned when I looked into the case, became a semifamous rapper in the years after the crime. He was called G. Dep. Ghetto Dependent. Signed with Sean “Puffy” Combs’s Bad Boy Records. (You might remember the Harlem Shake dance from his “Let’s Get It” video.) Later, his career stalled, and he slid into drug use. Got sober. Got married. Had kids. And then years after the cops had stopped asking questions about a 1993 cold case, he turned himself in and “made right” with his wrongs.