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Lookout in French artist’s slaying sentenced to prison

Oralandar Brand-Williams

The self-confessed lookout man in the murder of French street artist Bilal Berreni two years ago will spend more than two decades behind bars for his role in the crime.

Drequone Rich, one of four defendants accused in the killing of Paris-born Berreni, was sentenced Thursday to 23-40 years for second-degree murder by Wayne Circuit Judge Bruce Morrow.

Rich, 21, accepted a plea deal in September. He admitted to being the lookout man who stopped the victim from escaping. Rich could have faced life in prison without the plea agreement.

“I don’t think a trial is the best idea for me,” Rich said during the hearing last month. “I’m guilty.”

Bilal Berreni

Dionte Travis, 18, was sentenced to 16-40 years before Judge Dalton Roberson on robbery charges. He faces a retrial on a murder and weapons charge Nov. 30 in Wayne Circuit Court. Travis’ first trial last month ended in a hung jury.

Berreni, 23, was robbed, beaten and shot to death in July 2013. His body was found near the now-demolished Brewster-Douglass public housing projects near Mack and Interstate 75. He was living in Detroit when he was killed. It took investigators several months to identify his body through DNA and fingerprints because he was not carrying identification.

Berreni was well-known in Paris for his street art that he painted under the signature Zoo Project.

Jasin Curtis, 19, also pleaded guilty and was sentenced in June to 27-40 years for robbery and murder. The youngest defendant, who was 14 at the time of the crime, faces trial in December before a juvenile court judge.

The teen told police the four split $300 taken from Berreni during the attack. The ninth-grader told police he spent the $50 he received on “junk food and weed.”

Authorities say the four were part of a street gang that robbed and attacked “mostly white people” near the area where Berreni was slain.

bwilliams@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2027