Rapper Bobby Shmurda, born Ackquille Jean Pollard, and two co-defendants, Chad "Rowdy Rebel" Marshall and Nicholas McCoy, have accepted a plea deal from the prosecution in a New York State Supreme Court hearing today (Sept. 9), agreeing to serve seven years in prison rather than risk trial, which had been scheduled to begin jury selection Monday (Sept. 12).
Shortly after 12:45 p.m. this afternoon, Shmurda, dressed in a white t-shirt and orange pants, entered the courtroom alongside his co-defendants almost 21 months since he and several others were arrested at Manhattan's Quad Studios on the night of Dec. 17, 2014. With the long-delayed beginning of the trial looming, special prosecutor Nigel Farina offered a "global plea deal" to the four defendants -- Marshall, McCoy, Shmurda and Santino Boderick -- with the bargain contingent on all four accepting the deal. Marshall, McCoy and Shmurda were all offered sentences of seven years to plead guilty to 4th-degree conspiracy (to criminally posses a weapon in the second degree), which carries a sentence of 1-3 years, and 2nd-degree criminal weapons possession, which carries a sentence of 7 years. Boderick, however, was facing an additional charge of attempted assault, meaning his offer was for a minimum of 15 years.
After Farina read the offer to the court, Shmurda's attorney Alex Spiro asked justice Abraham Clott for a moment to allow each defense attorney the chance to speak with the defendants. After a tense 20 minutes, Clott reconvened the Court and asked each defendant in turn if they would accept the deal. First Marshall, the McCoy, answered that they would accept if each of their fellow defendants did as well. When Clott got to Shmurda, he replied, "It is my understanding my co-defendant is not interested." When Clott asked again whether he would accept the deal, Shmurda replied that he would if his fellow defendants did the same. Boderick, however, rejected the deal, essentially rejecting the plea for all four.
After a period of conferences and a rejected request by the defense for Shmurda and Marshall to plea independently from the other two defendants, Farina made an offer to split Boderick's plea off from the other three defendants, allowing Shmurda, Marshall and McCoy to accept the seven year sentence. Jury selection in Boderick's trial will begin Monday, as previously scheduled; Justice Clott informed him that if convicted after trial, Boderick was facing "the possibility of up to the equivalent of life without parole."
Official sentencing for Shmurda, Marshall and McCoy is now set for Oct. 19.
Under the deal, the two charges to which each pled guilty will be allowed to run concurrently, meaning the young rapper will face a maximum of 7 years in prison. Under the terms of the deal, Shmurda will not be allowed to appeal, but will get credit for time served -- nearly two years at this point -- leaving five years remaining on his sentence.
This story will be updated shortly.