Note: This article contains descriptions of alleged domestic violence that some people may find disturbing.
On August 25, Florida rapper XXXTentacion released his debut album, 17, which entered at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart. The music arrived amid online debate over the criminal case against the 19-year-old, whose real name is Jahseh Onfroy. Last October, prosecutors charged him with aggravated battery of a pregnant woman, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment, and witness-tampering. If convicted on all four counts, XXXTentacion could face substantial prison time. He has pleaded not guilty. He has also denied the charges in various interviews, saying the woman was attacked by someone else and wasn’t pregnant, among other contentions. A trial is set to begin on October 5.
The gravity of the charges is clear, but the particulars that led to them have remained murky. Now, Pitchfork has obtained a 142-page transcript of testimony by XXXTentacion’s reported victim, delivered over two and a half hours in January at a public defender’s office in Miami. (XXXTentacion’s lawyer, his manager, and spokespeople for his label, Empire, have not responded to requests for comment.) In the deposition, the woman said she suffered a grim pattern of routine abuse and offered harrowing details about what she said happened in the final days before the charges.
Based on that deposition, the following is a chronological summary of what she described:
• The reported victim met XXXTentacion online and went to a movie theater with him once before she attended one of his shows in late May 2016. On that particular evening, he came up from behind her in the crowd, grabbed her neck, and walked away silently. Later that same night, he hugged her and invited her to a party at the house where he was living in North Miami. At the house, he told her he liked her and suggested she could move in with him. The next day, she left her ex-boyfriend’s place and began cohabitating with XXXTentacion.
• The first incident of domestic violence occurred about two weeks later. He slapped her and broke her iPhone 6S, because she had complimented a male friend on his new jewelry. (XXXTentacion later repaired the phone.) Later that day, XXXTentacion left the room and returned with two grilling implements—a “barbecue pitchfork” and a “barbecue cleaner,” she said—and told her to pick between them, because he was going to put one of them in her vagina. She chose the fork. He told her to undress. He was lightly dragging the tool against her inner thigh when she passed out. He did not penetrate her with it.
• Following that incident, XXXTentacion began to act violently toward her often. Around July 2016, the couple moved to Orlando. When asked during the deposition to “pinpoint the days he threatened to kill you,” the reported victim responded, “Well, when we lived in Orlando, it was literally like every day.”
• About a week and a half into their stint in Orlando, the woman and XXXTentacion were on their way to a show together. They listened to one of XXXTentacion’s songs in the car and she sang along with his verse. Then she hummed along with a verse from a featured artist on the track. After that, XXXTentacion fell silent and left her in the car outside the venue. Inside, they got into a fight. When they arrived home after the show, he took her into the bathroom. “And he was asking me why I was singing his friend’s part of the song, if I like him, why do I like him, like do I ever look at his Twitter,” she said.
Then, XXXTentacion head-butted her, punched her, stomped on her, and put her in the bathtub, where he continued hitting and kicking her. “He also wanted to cut out my tongue because I was singing the song,” she said. She tried to run away down the street. He tackled her, causing her head to hit the pavement. She suffered black eyes, a lump on the back of her head, scratch marks, and bruises, including a large bruise on her ankle where he stomped her.
• Also while living in Orlando, he hit her with white plastic clothes hangers. “He broke a good 30 hangers on my legs,” she said. Around this time, he tried cutting her hair, and he held her head under running water in the bathtub.
• In August, XXXTentacion was arrested in a separate case. (As previously reported, he was charged with armed home invasion, robbery, and aggravated battery with a firearm, stemming from an alleged incident in November 2015. He pleaded no contest to those charges in March 2017 and was ordered to serve six years of probation.) The woman called her mother to pick her up and then went to stay with a friend in Texas. But she soon had to return to South Florida, where her planned accommodations fell through and she ended up living with XXXTentacion’s friends. Around this time, she had sex with another man.
• When XXXTentacion got out of jail, they moved back in together in North Miami. (On September 16, 2016, court records show, XXXTentacion agreed to house arrest, and was released.) He told her he knew she had cheated on him. He put a knife to her neck, strangled her “a little bit,” and called her a “ho,” she said. That night, he woke her up and told her to go outside, where he picked up an empty glass beer bottle and demanded that she tell him the truth or, “I’m going to fuck you up.” She replied that she already was telling him the truth, that she had cheated and was sorry. He dropped the bottle, slapped her, and let her go back to bed.
• About a week later, she and XXXTentacion moved to an apartment in Sweetwater, Fla. In two incidents there, XXXTentacion grabbed her by the neck, strangled her, and forced her down on the bed before another person who lived there came to the rescue. “I’m like scared,” she said, recalling how she felt. “It’s like he’s going to like end up killing me or something.”
• In early October 2016, she found out that she was pregnant by XXXTentacion. The pregnancy was planned by both of them. On the afternoon of October 6, he told her to move from the bed they were lying on. He then went out onto the balcony, where she could still hear him, and called up the person she had slept with while XXXTentacion was in jail, demanding to know everything. When XXXTentacion returned inside, he told her, “You need to tell me the truth right now or I’ll kill you and this jit.” She said that “jit” was slang for the unborn child.
He then started elbowing, head-butting, and punching her. He strangled her until she almost passed out. He took her to the bathroom and demanded one last time that she tell him everything or he would kill her in the bathtub. She couldn’t even recognize her face in the mirror—it looked “distorted”—and her left eye was completely shut and “leaking blood.” She was losing vision. She vomited.
• Other people who lived in the Sweetwater apartment eventually arrived, and she asked them to let her go to the hospital. XXXTentacion told her she couldn’t leave until her face had healed, because otherwise the police would be called. He told her she had to wear a hoodie. XXXTentacion and the others also put glasses on her, then they all got in a car and drove to an apartment she had never been to before, in North Miami Beach. (The hoodie and glasses were noted in a police report.) They left her in a bedroom, and XXXTentacion confiscated her phone. She didn’t get it back until he was arrested on October 8.
• For the next two days she didn’t leave that room except to use an adjacent bathroom. She couldn’t find a way to flee. There were bars on the windows. “If you’re smart, you would stay with me until you get a car and you have enough money to move into an apartment,” he told her. “Because if you leave now, you’re just setting yourself up for failure. You’re going to be homeless.”
• Around 2 a.m. on October 8, XXXTentacion was in the living room of the apartment playing Minecraft and using Skype. She let him know she was going into the kitchen to make him some food. She opened the refrigerator door wide enough so that he wouldn’t be able to see her if he she crouched down, and then she opened a side door and ran to the nearest main street she knew. She didn’t have any money. She asked someone if she could use their phone and called the only number she knew by heart. It was the number for the ex-boyfriend she had been living with the night she agreed to move in with XXXTentacion. That ex-boyfriend’s mother drove her to the Miami Beach police department.
Pitchfork also obtained transcripts of previously unreported depositions by the woman’s ex-boyfriend, his mother, and Sgt. Amel Soto, the Miami Beach police officer who first questioned the woman. The ex-boyfriend backed up much of her testimony regarding what XXXTentacion had done to her. The ex-boyfriend’s mother attested to the woman’s injuries, describing her eyes, for example, as “black and blue, purple, every color under the rainbow.” Soto—a 23-year veteran of the police force—remembered the reported victim telling him about being attacked for humming someone else’s music. He testified, “I had never in my entire career heard something like that.”
XXXTentacion Freestyle – 2017 XXL Freshman