Pop Smoke Murder: First Defendant To Plead Guilty Sentenced

The burgeoning New York City drill rapper was fatally shot during a botched robbery in February 2020.

Pop Smoke was fatally shot during a botched robbery in February 2020. More than three years later, the first defendant to plead guilty to the drill rapper’s murder has been sentenced. According to Arcamax, the defendant pleaded guilty in an Inglewood courtroom to voluntary manslaughter and home invasion robber on Thursday (April 6). Judge J. Christopher Smith sentenced the defendant to four years and two months in the Secure Youth Treatment Facility. He also warned the 20-year-old man he could remain in juvenile custody until he was 25.

The defendant was a teenager when he committed the crime, so his name has not been released. Three others are charged in Pop Smoke’s death, including two other juvenile defendants and Corey Walker, who was 19 at the time. A judge has issued a court order barring the media from identifying the juvenile defendants.

Pop Smoke, just 20, was on a four-day trip to Los Angeles when he posted an Instagram photo of a gift bag from the clothing brand, Amiri. The label revealed the address of the Hollywood Hills home where he’d been staying.

Later that night, a group of people wearing ski masks broke into Pop Smoke’s bedroom. They confronted him in a shower, where one of the juvenile suspects “pistol-whipped” him before shooting him three times in the back. They wound up with diamond-studded Rolex watch, which they sold for $2,000.

Deputy District Attorney Hilary Williams told a judge the defendant who pleaded guilty was no minor participant in the crime. Not only did he scout the mansion, he helped Walker recruit three other juveniles to rob Pop Smoke. After entering the home, he remained in “constant communication” with Walker, who waited in the getaway car.

The defendant’s attorney, Martin Lijtmaer, argued his client was intellectually disabled. But a psychologist who examined him last August believed he was faking it. A judge later found the defendant did have an intellectually disability but was competent to stand trial. The judge cited the jailhouse recording and calls with his mother that showed he understood how the courts worked.

“I don’t know how you and your friends even came to the idea to rob someone, someone whose life was taken unnecessarily,” Smith told the young man. “Mr. Jackson is not [coming home]. His life is done because of what you and your friends did. You owe. You owe.”