Troubled 17-year-old charged with murder of videographer and aspiring rapper

Beetoo Pierre
Beetoo Pierre North Miami Police Department

Shortly before midnight in mid-June, Beetoo Pierre finally had enough. A long-standing “beef” between Pierre and a young and up-and-coming rapper he’d known for years was about to end.

That evening, as Kenson Pierre and friend Justin McAdam stood outside a home in a leafy residential North Miami community watching a rap video they created, Beetoo Pierre approached.

He passed Kenson Pierre and McAdam as they watched a video on a computer propped up on the trunk of a car, and as another friend stood near the car’s hood. Then Beetoo Pierre turned back toward the pair, raised his firearm, and fired bullets into their heads.

The third man fell to the ground unharmed and managed to escape. So did Beetoo Pierre. But he could only hide for so long.

Late last week after receiving a tip, North Miami police obtained an arrest warrant for Pierre and later found him at his parents’ North Miami apartment complex at 1350 NE 119th St. He was arrested without incident, and charged with two counts of first-degree murder and another count of attempted murder.

“He had a personal beef with the two victims,” said North Miami Police Maj. Neal Cuevas. “It wasn’t business related.”

Police, fearing for the safety of the tipster, refused to lay out details of the “beef” between the two Pierres, who are not related.

They also would not explain how Beetoo Pierre knew to show up at Kenson Pierre’s home almost 20 blocks from his own, just as he and McAdam were meeting outside, near midnight, to watch the rap video.

Before the shooting, Kenson Pierre, 22 and known as “Short Kidd” to his friends, was awakened from a slumber by a call to his cellphone from McAdam, 31. McAdam, a military veteran who went by the name of “JBlanco,” told his friend to go outside the home at 1130 NE 133rd St. so they could watch the video.

The deaths created a flood of comments on social media sites, mostly from the victims’ friends, some of whom flew into town to learn what happened and attend the funerals. Kenson Pierre’s girlfriend, Shanice Brown, who is studying to be a police officer in New York, said she learned of her boyfriend’s death through Instagram and text messages.

Friends of McAdam called him a “humble” guy, and spoke of his love for music, which they said only grew as he traveled the world while in the Navy. Once back in the private sector, McAdam inherited his dad’s photography business, but veered toward rap production, which is how he began working with Pierre, the aspiring rapper.

Beetoo Pierre is a 17-year-old with a history of criminal charges who now attends a school for troubled youths. Most of the crimes he’s been charged with have either been dropped or he’s beaten them in court.

At the time of the killings, Beetoo was living in a residential commitment facility, essentially on juvenile parole and supervised probation after a strong-arm robbery conviction. The commitment facility is supposed to help troubled youths make the transition back into society. The state has never tried him as an adult.

Even before he turned 15, Pierre had been arrested twice for burglary, another time for selling stolen property, and again for grand theft, Florida Department of Law Enforcement records show. A year later police would add a firearm and grand theft charge.

All those charges were either dropped or he won court cases.

Then in March 2013, when he was 16, he was arrested by North Miami police for strong-arm robbery, another firearms charge and new grand theft charges. He was convicted of those charges. Pierre, who attends an Opa-locka school for troubled youths, the Jan Mann Opportunity Center, had turned 17 a month to the day before he was accused of murdering Kenson Pierre and Justin McAdam.

Asked whether the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office intended to charge Beetoo Pierre as an adult for the murders, spokesman Ed Griffith said “we review every case individually to see if it’s appropriate.” Typically, juveniles are charged as adults only in the most serious of crimes.

Samuel Johnson, the principal at Jan Mann, said Beetoo Pierre is a relatively quiet kid whose behavior seemed to be improving.

"He was a student that we thought was turning himself around, and this unfortunate situation happened," Johnson said.

Brown, Kenson Pierre’s girlfriend, said the arrest offers her and her boyfriend’s family some closure. And though she said she doesn’t recognize Beetoo Pierre, she said she forgives him because “it’s not my place to condemn him. I just hope he can live with himself knowing that he took someone who was so good to so many people.”

Brown was attending Borough of Manhattan Community College in New York before her boyfriend’s death, but moved back to Florida to spend time with his family.

She said her boyfriend was supportive of her going away to school.

“He’s the one who encouraged me to go and he said he would be here waiting for me when I came back.”

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