When rapper G. Dep turned himself in for a nearly 2-decade-old shooting, he told police he wanted to clear his conscience.
He found out Tuesday what the consequences would be: 15 years to life in prison, the minimum term for his murder conviction. A judge, prosecutors and even the jury foreman said he deserved credit for coming forward when he'd never been suspected in the long-cold case.
"It may not be the best legal strategy, but, certainly, it was the right thing to do," Manhattan State Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus said, "even though it landed you in the situation you're in now."
With that, the 37-year-old rapper -- who had a brush with fame in the late 1990s and early 2000s -- walked slowly out of the courtroom, looking back at his wife, mother and a couple of longtime family friends in the audience. He didn't speak at his sentencing, but his lawyer, Anthony L. Ricco, said G. Dep was at peace with his decision to speak up.
"He was in search of his redemption and his honor, and some might say that he achieved that," Ricco said after court.
The sentencing capped a case with uncommon contours from the moment the rapper revived it by walking into a police stationhouse in late 2010. He told police he'd shot someone while trying to rob him on a street corner years earlier.
Then came an unusual trial in which he acknowledged confessing but argued that police might have mismatched his account to the October 1993 shooting of John Henkel, 32.
G. Dep was convicted last month -- a decision jurors made "with a heavy heart," foreman Jim Nelson wrote to Obus in a letter asking for leniency for the rapper, born Trevell Coleman.
G. Dep became part of rap impresario Sean "Diddy" Combs' slate of up-and-comers at Bad Boy Records in the late 1990s and early 2000s.