Former Rapper G Dep Among 16 Granted Clemency by Governor, to be Eligible for Parole in 2025

Former Rapper G Dep Among 16 Granted Clemency by Governor Kathy Hochul

As part of the end-of-year clemency list, Governor Kathy Hochul has granted clemency to Travell “G Dep” Coleman, a once-promising rapper who signed with Sean “Diddy” Combs. Coleman, now 49, had been serving 15 years to life for the 1993 shooting death of a robbery victim in East Harlem—a case that remained unsolved until 2010 when the rapper turned himself into the police.

The former rising star rapper’s involvement in the fatal armed robbery haunted him, leading to his surrender in 2010. Coleman’s lawyer shared with reporters that guilt had weighed heavily on his client since committing the crime as a teenager.

Governor Hochul’s clemency actions include commuting Coleman’s sentence, reducing it by two years from 15 to life to 13 to life. This adjustment makes Coleman eligible for early parole in 2025. Alongside Coleman, three other convicts had their sentences commuted, and 12 pardons were issued, eight of which were related to drug cases.

Before his involvement in crime, G Dep was making a name for himself in the New York City hip-hop scene, signing with Combs’ Bad Boy label in 1999 and gaining recognition for tracks like “Special Delivery” and “Let’s Get It.” However, his career took a dark turn due to drugs and criminal activities, accumulating more than 25 arrests for drugs, burglary, and larceny.

Former Rapper G Dep Among 16 Granted Clemency by Governor, to be Eligible for Parole in 2025
Governor grants clemency to ex-NYC rapper G Dep, formerly signed by Diddy, commuting his life sentence. Eligible for parole in 2025. A twist in a decades-old murder case.

In his confession to the police, Coleman admitted to robbing John Henkel at Park Avenue and East 114th Street on October 19, 1993. During a scuffle, Coleman pulled out a .40-caliber gun and shot Henkel three times in the chest before discarding the murder weapon into the East River.

Prosecutors in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office advocated for Coleman’s clemency, highlighting his achievements behind bars, including earning an associate’s degree and contributing to violence prevention and sobriety counseling programs. State officials emphasized his participation in various rehabilitation initiatives.

The brother of the victim, John Henkel, declined to comment on the clemency decision. However, in a previous interview, he expressed strong opposition to Coleman’s bid for clemency, describing it as a “farce” and criticizing efforts to release a convicted murderer early.

Governor Hochul, in a statement, explained her approach to the clemency process, stating, “Through the clemency process, it is my solemn duty as governor to recognize the efforts individuals have made to improve their lives and show that redemption is possible.” The decision to grant clemency to G Dep has sparked debates over the nature of redemption and justice in the wake of a decades-old crime.

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