Wagswoofs – A former up-and-coming rapper, who once signed with Sean “Diddy” Combs before being convicted for a cold-case murder in Manhattan, has been granted clemency by Gov. Kathy Hochul, along with 15 other inmates.
Travell “G Dep” Coleman, 49, had spent over 15 years in prison for the murder of a robbery victim in East Harlem back in 1993. The case had remained unsolved until 2010 when the once-promising rapper turned himself in to the police at the 25th Precinct station house.
According to the rapper’s lawyer, Coleman has been overwhelmed with guilt ever since he committed the fatal armed robbery when he was a teenager.
On Friday, Hochul exercised her power to commute Coleman’s sentence, joining her office’s customary end-of-year clemency list. In addition to Coleman, she also commuted the sentences of three other convicts and granted 12 pardons, with eight of them being related to drug cases.
A pardon completely clears a conviction, while a commutation lessens the length of a prison sentence.
Coleman’s sentence of 15 years to life has been reduced by two years, making it 13 years to life. As a result, he will now be eligible for early parole in 2025.
Coleman, an aspiring hip-hop artist from New York City, had a promising career ahead of him when he signed with Combs’ Bad Boy label in 1999. He gained recognition for his hit songs like “Special Delivery” and “Let’s Get It.” Unfortunately, he later faced challenges as he got involved in drugs and criminal activities.
During his criminal career, he accumulated over 25 arrests for charges related to drugs, burglary, and larceny.
According to the confession made to the police, the suspect admitted to riding a bicycle when he approached the victim, John Henkel, at the intersection of Park Avenue and East 114th Street on October 19, 1993, with the intention of robbing him.
Colemen said he pulled out a.40-caliber gun, shot the victim three times in the chest, and then threw the murder weapon into the East River after the fight.
Last year, a prosecutor from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office advocated for Hochul to consider granting clemency to Coleman. The prosecutor highlighted Coleman’s notable accomplishments while serving his sentence and his willingness to surrender to law enforcement.
According to state officials, Coleman obtained an associate’s degree while incarcerated and actively contributed to various rehabilitation programs, including violence prevention and sobriety counseling initiatives.
When The Post reached out to Henkel’s brother, Robert Henkel, on Sunday, he declined to comment.
During an interview with The Post last year, he expressed his strong disapproval of Coleman’s request for clemency, describing it as “a farce.” He also criticized Bragg’s office for their efforts to secure an early release for the convicted murderer.
“It’s understandable to advocate for clemency in drug-related offenses, but when it comes to murder, the situation is different,” Henke expressed in December. “Allow Coleman to serve his full 15-year sentence and then consider parole as an option.”
“In a heartfelt statement, Governor Hochul emphasized the significance of the clemency process, acknowledging her responsibility to honor the remarkable strides made by individuals in transforming their lives and demonstrating the potential for redemption.”