The man suspected of stabbing Nicki Minaj’s crew member to death has been convicted of murder, the Associated Press reports.
On Friday, 38-year-old Khaliyfa Neely was convicted of third-degree murder, aggravated and simple assault, and possession of an instrument of crime for the incident that claimed De’Von Andre Pickett’s life in February 2015. Pickett was preparing to go on tour with Minaj as her stage manager when he was stabbed outside a bar in Philadelphia’s Germantown section.
Initially, it was reported that the fight started because of a man-made “rude” comments to Neely and his associate Pierce Boykin. The 36-year-old Boykin was charged with the murder, but those charges were dropped in exchange for aggravated assault charges after more evidence pointed to Neely being the killer. Neely’s attorney Anthony Petrone argued that Boykin was the killer, leading to an earlier trail against Neely ending in a hung jury. During the second trial, the prosecution was able to successfully argue that Neely was the killer.
Philadelphia’s Assistant District Attorney Adam Geer says Neely’s conviction “further distances” Boykin from the murder. He describes the victim as “a special presence and a special person to his group of friends.”
“He was always joking and making sure everyone was having a good time,” Geer said of Pickett. “We just hope this helps his family begin to heal.”
Boykin reportedly pleaded guilty to his aggravated assault charge in 2016 and was sentenced to 23 months in jail. Neely will be sentenced for his conviction on April 24.
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