Born Travell Coleman, rapper G. Dep who, in 2010, walked into a New York Ciry police precinct and admitted to committing a nearly two-decade-old cold case murder to ‘clear his conscience,’ has been since been awarded clemency by Governor Kathy Hochul.
With his sentence being commuted by the Democratic politician, the now 49-year old Coleman has served 13 of a 15-year-to-life sentence, and will now be allowed to seek parole earlier than his original 2025 date.
In an announcement made Friday (12.22,) .Coleman is one of 16 individuals granted clemency by Hochul, including 12 pardons and four commutations. Marking the third time the current Governor has granted clemency this year, her statement read “Through the clemency process, it is my solemn responsibility as governor to recognize the efforts individuals have made to improve their lives and show that redemption is possible.”
While in prison, G. Dep earned an associate’s degree and facilitated violence prevention and sobriety counseling programs, while also participating in a variety of educational and rehabilitative classes. Travell’s clemency application was supported by the prosecutor in the case as well as the judge who sentenced him.
In the early 2000s, G. Dep enjoyed hits with “Special Delivery” and “Let’s Get It” and helped popularize a loose-limbed dance called the Harlem shake. While he was one of the rising stars of hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs’ Bad Boy Records label in the late 1990s, according to his lawyer, when the rapper’s career slowed down following his 2001 debut LP, Child of the Ghetto, the musician took to drugs and low-level arrests,
At the time, Attorney Anthony L. Ricco said that Coleman “had been haunted” by the 1993 fatal shooting of John Henkel and decided to confess to shooting someone as a teenager during a robbery in East Harlem. Henkel was shot three times in the chest outside an apartment complex.
His brother, Robert Henkel, had demanded Hochul reject the urgings by prosecutor David Drucker to release Coleman, calling it a “farce.” He told the New York Post that “it is one thing to seek (clemency) for drug crimes — but not murder.”