The untimely death of Brooklyn-born MC Pop Smoke — born Bashar Barakah Jackson — still feels like a punch to the gut for hip-hop fans and musicians alike. While it’s true that the genre has continued to lose many greats and up-and-coming stars over the years, it appears that things are only getting worse.
As the hip-hop world is hopeful that justice will be served in Pop Smoke’s death, fans have noticed that the none of the people arrested and charged in connection with the 20-year-old's murder have stood trial yet. And with news of Pop Smoke’s gravesite being vandalized, fans are outraged and ready to see the justice system work. So, where are Pop Smoke’s alleged killers now? Read on as we give you the lowdown.
Where are Pop Smoke's alleged killers now?
Following Pop Smoke's February 2020 murder after a home invasion, four individuals — Corey Walker, Keandre Rodgers, and two unnamed people — were arrested in July 2020, per Vulture.
A fifth person, Jaquan Murphy, was also arrested, but ultimately wasn’t charged in Pop Smoke’s death. However, he was implicated in a series of unrelated shootings from earlier that year, per the LA Times.
ABC News reports that Walker and Rodgers were both charged with what authorities said was murder with the special circumstance allegation that the killing occurred during the commission of a robbery and a burglary, making them eligible for the death penalty.
The two unnamed defendants (both minors) were charged with one count of murder and robbery in juvenile court.
In May 2021, one of the unnamed suspects — a 15-year-old — who was arrested for his involvement in the murder confessed to being the one who fatally shot Pop Smoke. According to the New York Daily News, the shocking revelation was in a jailhouse interview between the teen and his cellmate in May 2020.
"He admitted that he shot the victim three times with a Baretta 9mm," LAPD Det. Carlos Camacho testified in a May 2021 preliminary hearing for one of the other suspects, Corey Walker.
The 15-year-old — who, along with the other intruders, had reportedly been seeking to steal the rapper's diamond-studded Rolex and Cuban link chain — allegedly “admitted that they asked for the jewelry” and then had “a confrontation” with Pop Smoke.
"They got into a fight, and he shot him three times," Carlos shared. "He said he shot him on the back."
On July 6, 2021, Walker appeared in court for re-arraignment, but was unable to enter a new plea to due a system glitch that prevented prosecutors from filing the special paperwork confirming their decision, per the New York Daily News.
However, the prosecutors made the decision to take the death penalty off the table.
The outlet reports that Walker’s new plea date was postponed to August 2021. Since then, there has been no word on when the trials are scheduled to start or if a plea deal is currently on the table.
As of the Daily News report from July 2021, the three other suspects were still awaiting trial in juvenile court. (Keandre Rodgers was eventually determined to have been a minor at the time of murder, per Vulture.)
Pop Smoke’s gravesite was reportedly vandalized on the weekend of Sept. 10, 2021.
TMZ reports that Pop Smoke’s gravesite at the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn was vandalized over the Sept. 10, 2021, weekend. It's believed that the crypt was damaged sometime between 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021, and 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021.
In photos obtained by the outlet, Pop Smoke’s marble plaque was cracked with several pieces shattered on the ground. Other debris that includes flowers and what looked like burned and discarded joints were scattered on the ground, according to the site.
Not to mention, the site shares that there appeared to be drag marks on the ground that suggest that the vandals may have tried to gain access to Pop Smoke’s tomb.
Unfortunately, there were no cameras in the area. TMZ reports that the damage adds up to $50,000. At this time, police are currently investigating the crime.
When did Pop Smoke die?
In case you’ve been MIA, Pop Smoke was murdered on Feb. 19, 2020, in Los Angeles in a home invasion gone wrong. The crime reportedly took place in a rented home in the Hollywood Hills, per TMZ.
The outlet was originally told that two men wearing hoodies and masks broke into the house and shot Pop Smoke multiple times, but video surveillance shows that four men made their way into the home. This occurred just 10 minutes after people inside the house deadbolted the front doors shut. The men later fled the scene.
Pop Smoke was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in West Hollywood where he was pronounced dead.
TMZ reported that earlier that day, Pop Smoke shared the address of the home while showing off gift bags he received. Plus, the rapper posted a photo on Instagram in a vehicle with his best friend holding money. So, it’s believed that the intruders may have become aware of his whereabouts due to social media.
Unfortunately, getting justice sometimes comes with a waiting period. And while nothing can bring back Pop Smoke, we do hope that the friends, family, and loved ones of the MC are able to get the justice they deserve sooner rather than later.