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Tampa Bay Rapper t9ines Attempted Murder Charge Dropped After Questionable Cellphone Evidence

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2024 | Criminal Defense

At Bernhardt Riley, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, we are proud to announce a significant victory in the case of our client, Antonio Nelson, better known by his stage name, T9ine. The Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office dropped the attempted murder and felony robbery charges against the Tampa Bay-based rapper during a court hearing on Wednesday. Nelson, 21, pleaded guilty to a separate charge of dealing in stolen property.

The case, which garnered significant attention, centered on a robbery and shooting at a Mobil gas station in East Tampa on July 11, 2021. Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies arrested Nelson and Kahiem Dennard, 19, weeks later in connection with the robbery and shooting, relying heavily on cellphone location data to place Nelson at the scene of the crime.

However, our legal team, led by attorney Gretchen Cothron, contested Nelson’s involvement in the robbery and questioned the state’s use of cellphone data. We provided cellphone logs demonstrating that Nelson’s mother called him at 9:50 PM that night, with AT&T marking Nelson’s location in Brandon, where he lived. Court documents showed that the robbery vehicle, which the sheriff accused Nelson of being in, was at the Mobil in Tampa from 9:15 PM to 9:58 PM.

Cellphone location data used by law enforcement agencies is often gathered by finding which cell towers a person’s phone connects to at certain times of the day, even when it is not being used. Studies show that several factors affect the location data, including the number of available cell sites, technical characteristics of the cell tower, and the type of phone itself, among other factors. In this case, the sheriff’s office used a cell data capture technology called CellHawk, which has faced scrutiny in the past for problems with accuracy and lack of oversight.

Our legal team’s diligent work in uncovering these discrepancies called into question the reliability of the evidence that investigators used in the case. As a result, the attempted murder and robbery charges were dropped not only against our client, Nelson, but also against Dennard, due to the reliance on the questionable cellphone location evidence.

In a statement to the Tampa Bay Times, Nelson expressed his gratitude to our legal team, saying, “last year I found some amazing lawyers that put some very hard work into my case and truly believed in me. I can’t thank them enough.” He also thanked God, his mother, and his fans for their unwavering support throughout the case.

At Bernhardt Riley, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, we are dedicated to ensuring that our clients receive the best possible representation and outcome in their cases. Our work in this high-profile case demonstrates our commitment to our clients and our ability to challenge evidence that may not be as reliable as it initially seems.

For more information on this case, you can read the full article here.

If you or someone you know is in need of legal representation, please do not hesitate to reach out to our experienced team at Bernhardt Riley, Attorneys at Law, PLLC. We are here to help and ensure that your rights are protected.