The man who stabbed a member of Nicki Minaj‘s crew to death was convicted of third-degree murder Friday. According to the Associated Press (via New York Times), 38-year-old Khaliyfa Neely was also convicted of aggravated and simple assault and possession of an instrument of crime in the death of De’Von Andre Pickett in February 2015. His sentencing has been set for April 24.
At the time of his death, the 29-year-old Pickett was preparing to go on tour as Nicki’s stage manager when he was killed outside a Philadelphia bar. Pickett, Neely, and another man, Pierce Boykin, were drawn into confrontation after someone “hurled rude” comments, with Neely’s defense arguing that Boykin committed the stabbing. However, prosecutors determined that the evidence pointed toward Neely, charging Boykin with aggravated assault after dropping the murder charge against him. Boykin pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in 2016 and was sentenced to 23 months in jail.
Nicki Minaj’s 2015 Pinkprint Tour was only one month away when the stabbing occurred, prompting the rapper to consider canceling the tour altogether. At the time, she said, “I can’t let anything stop us from putting on the show because that would be quitting. So we’re going to continue the tour in his memory.” The tour eventually grossed $22 million with a total attendance of 429,672.
Nicki also recently commented on the recent murder of burgeoning Brooklyn talent Pop Smoke, which you can read here.