What does her loyalty mean to you?
She tries her best to do whatever she can. She has children that she needs to take care of. At times, I expect her to do certain things. But then I realize I shouldn’t expect anything. It’s really whatever she could and wants to do.
You’ve been open in past interviews about your substance abuse and problems with drugs. How bad did it get?
I remember, one day specifically, I was in the house and just looked at my surroundings and everything, and it just felt like I was a whole other person. I think that was probably the worst I got, just letting it all go.
Do you ever think about why you started using?
I think I really didn’t pay attention to the profession I was in. I kind of always was trying to medicate myself, trying to feel nothing. I knew I had a job to do, and once
I did it, I was like, Okay. Other than that, in my free time, that’s what I did in my spare time: I just medicated and got high. When I probably should have been maybe exercising right. I wasn’t even trying to prepare for the future and doing things that can build. I wasn’t building. I was just living in the game. As long as I had my job, that’s how I was living.
Were you clean at the time of the shooting?
At that time, all I did was smoke weed. Nothing else.
How about in 2001, when your album came out, Child of the Ghetto? Were you clean at the time?
Yeah, somewhat. I was just doing the music. Dealing with what I was dealing with,
I knew I was on a highly publicized label, so all I did was do what I had to do: go to the studio when I had to, do the shows. We weren’t really around a lot. We had to go to the studio, do shows, take flights. A lot of traveling. It was an experience.
How did that affect you, when the album came out?
I remember saying, “I got an album coming out,” and a lot of people didn’t know.
I was in the streets. People knew, but it wasn’t like it was different. Until the video comes out, it’s a whole other ball game. It goes to another level when people recognize you, like, “Yo, I seen the video.” People you don’t even know.
Diddy spoke praises for you during a Sirius interview. Your thoughts?
I appreciate him reaching out and showing support. I haven’t spoke to him in a minute, and he reached out to my family. He spoke to my wife and was showing support. That’s what’s up.
When you went to the precinct in December and admitted to the shooting, you were surprised to find out the man you shot had died?
Yeah, that was probably the most surprising thing about that day, and the whole situation. That was a real shock. I knew I was going to have to do some time or it was going to be reinvestigated or something like that, but when the detective came back in and said the guy died, it just kind of changed everything. I told him that
I wanted to get some closure for the guy’s family and hopefully that would help. They told me, “Well, I just wanted to tell you that the guy died.” I was like, “Wow.”
Henkel’s stepbrother called you an “idiot” and said you shouldn’t have confessed after all these years. Are you surprised by people’s response to your confession?
Somewhat, but then I can’t expect everyone to understand. I didn’t really care what people thought, because it was something I was going through. If anybody was going through that… I wouldn’t want anybody to go through that. Because it’s just mental anguish. You could never settle. You could never relax.
Was there paranoia associated with the shooting, that somebody might know?
I just thought about being caught. See, that was really what the paranoia was about—that they were coming for me. I just used to be like, They’re coming. I know they’re coming. I really didn’t think about what people knew, because if they knew, I would… It might have been tied in there somewhere. It might have been, because I used to think, If somebody knew, and it’s happening, so that was my whole thought process.
After you admitted to it, did you feel like a weight had finally been lifted?
I can’t lie—I did. I did. Not all the way, really, but I never been through this, so I don’t know what else you could feel. But at least something was being done about it… I feel like the decision I made, it kind of cleared me. It just feels like, spiritually, I feel healed somewhat. Now it’s like I kind of feel like, well, it’s just a burden lifted.
What’s your message to fans who still support you?
I want to apologize to the people out there that supported me. You kind of just listen to the music. You might not necessarily want to deal with the trials and tribulations that they go through all the time, so I apologize to the fans. I don’t really like to call them fans. I like to say supporters who are going through this with me..
One recent afternoon at Rikers Island, a pretrial inmate facing a life sentence on second-degree felony murder and manslaughter turns to his right, smiles and expresses gratitude.
“I really appreciate you, man,” says Trevell “G.Dep” Coleman. “For real.”
The man Coleman is talking to is attorney Anthony L. Ricco, the same attorney who has represented the notorious likes of Sammy “The Bull” Gravano, a conspirator in the Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman terrorism case and Gescard Isnora, one of the NYPD detectives charged in the murder of Sean Bell, a Queens man who was gunned down by police on his wedding day outside a strip joint, after a bachelor party, back in 2006.
“I know of a lot of situations where you could get railroaded or whatever,” says Coleman. “So it’s best to have the best representation.”
Ricco says he decided to represent Coleman shortly after reading about his stunning December admission of shooting 32-year-old Queens man John Henkel more than 17 years ago.
“I thought that if this young guy walked into a precinct to admit to something—because I don’t call it a confession—when nobody was looking for him,” says Ricco, “that says a hell of a lot about his character.”
Ricco, who grew up on 116th Street and 8th Avenue, in Harlem, also felt a neighborhood connection to Coleman and says he’ll be representing the former Bad Boy rapper nearly for free. (Crystal Sutton, Coleman’s wife and the mother of his twin boys, says she’s working furiously as an event planner and bugging DJs to play her husband’s music in order to pay his fee. But neither she nor Ricco would disclose the amount.) “Listen, I don’t want to insult his family,” says Ricco, 54. “But as far as I’m concerned, he can’t retain me to represent him.”
The stern, bow-tie-wearing attorney defends his client with a vigorousness that some might call gall.
“He doesn’t owe anybody an apology,” Ricco says. “If anything, in a crazy kind of way, we sort of owe Trevell an apology. He doesn’t have to apologize for being a man who stands up and takes responsibility for himself and try to find himself, to get his life right. He’s finding redemption for his soul, and if he’s doing that, he’s not walking away from his family, he’s walking toward his family.”
Sutton shows Coleman rock-solid loyalty of her own, visiting him every Friday. And she puts great hope in Ricco’s efforts to get her husband a reduced sentence. “I’m very loyal to Trevell because I know the Trevell before all this, before the PCP got really heavy,” says Sutton of her husband. “He’s told me he’d get clean before and never did. He tells me he’s a different person now. And I’d like to believe him.”