The rapper, whose real name is Trevell Coleman, was convicted in April for shooting John Henkel during a botched robbery underneath a railroad overpass in East Harlem.
G. Dep, now a married father of three, walked into an NYPD precinct stationhouse in December 2010 and copped to the cold-case killing because he was overcome with guilt.
He declined to speak during the sentencing hearing in Manhattan Supreme Court Tuesday. As his family wept in the audience, Judge Michael Obus praised him for his decision to come forward, calling it “the right thing to do.”
The judge said that in sentencing him to 15 years to life in prison — less than the maximum hitch for second-degree murder of 25 years to life — he weighed the severity of the crime and G. Dep’s remarkable confession.
“The circumstances of your being before the court now reveal to me a maturity and decency that wouldn't have been evident at the time,” the judge said, noting the punishment was more lenient than what G. Dep would likely have gotten if he was caught soon after the crime.
In a pre-sentence statement, Assistant District Attorney Dave Druker asked Obus to consider G. Dep’s confession and the way he had turned his life around following the crime.
Even the jury foreperson had asked Obus after the trial for leniency in sentencing.
G. Dep, despite his success in the music industry, was plagued by 15 years of drug addiction, said his defense lawyer, Anthony Ricci.
He said that G. Dep's confession has invited mockery from the public and fellow inmates.
“Mr. Coleman — what kind of idiot is he?” Ricci said. “He’s gotten the scorn of other inmates, who called him stupid — ‘Look what happened when you open your mouth!’ His wife questioned, ‘T, what about us?’”
But Ricci applauded his client’s honesty, which he said was brought about by a renewed faith in God.