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Fans of the French rapper known as MHD are in shock as they’ve learn that the man who is credited with pioneering afro-trap has just been sentenced to 12 years in prison for a murder he is said to have committed in 2018.

According to The Guardian, the 29-year-old rapper, born Mohamed Sylla, along with five other co-defendants were sentenced to prison for the 2018 incident in which they were accused of ramming a young man with a car before getting out and stabbing him to death. With prison terms ranging from 10 to 18 years, prosecutors say the violence was the result of a gang dispute that turned deadly. Three other men involved in the case were acquitted, but those who were convicted have 10 days to appeal the sentencing.

The Guardian reports:

During MHD’s final statement to the court before it retired to consider its verdict after three weeks of proceedings, he again said he was innocent. “From the beginning, I have maintained my innocence in this case and I will continue to maintain my innocence,” he told the packed court.

On the night of 5 July 2018, 23-year-old Loic K was rammed by a black Mercedes and then beaten up and stabbed by around a dozen people in the French capital’s 10th arrondissement.

MHD, whose real name is Mohamed Sylla, denied having been at the scene, but a local resident filmed the incident from his window and the Mercedes was identified as belonging to MHD.

The car was found abandoned and burned out in a car park a day after the killing.

Witnesses reportedly pointed out MHD’s presence by describing his haircut and the Puma sweatshirt he was allegedly wearing. This is despite the rapper’s claims that he was not at the scene.

Though MHD’s family, friends and fans are no doubt broken up over this ruling, the lawyer for the victim’s family Juliette Chapelle, said that “a judicial truth emerged despite the law of silence.”

MHD for his part maintains his innocence and will more than likely appeal the sentence.