BROOKLYN (PIX11) — It would be easy to categorize the execution-style murder of 20-year-old Kenny “Nu Money” Casilla as just another homicide in the rap world. But that wouldn’t be fair or accurate.
“He had three loves: basketball, his mother and music,” said Brendan Sullivan, the former varsity basketball coach at FDR High School in Bensonhurst, where Casilla played for the team during a Division Title run.
“Kenny didn’t need that much guidance,” Sullivan said. “He was a really good kid.”
When Casilla graduated from FDR in 2010, he had plans to play basketball at junior college upstate. But the lure of potential money in the music world pushed him toward rap first.
“And he goes, ‘I’m going to get signed soon and I’m going to buy you a house, and I want to move you out of the projects,’” his grieving mother, Yvette Ramos, told PIX11 from her apartment at Wyckoff Houses. “My son was not a troubled kid.”
Ramos noted with pride that recognized names in the hip hop industry, like Juelz Santana and Fabolous, would call her son to create together.
Casilla was fatally shot in the head on March 9, 2013, sitting inside a car in Miami.
Well known for producing raps and videos with his “Rich Mafia” crew, Casilla was in the front passenger seat. His mother told PIX11 she spent a year trying to crack the code on his Instagram account. When she did, Ramos said she started learning a wealth of information.
“The driver sent a picture of my son knocked out in the car,” Ramos said, pointing to a photo she said was posted on Instagram 46 minutes before her son was killed.
She claims another picture went out after the slaying.
“The only way you’re going to send a picture out is if it’s a hit and you’re letting them know he’s dead,” she said.
Ramos thinks her son was set up and believes the answers to the crime are in Brooklyn. PIX11 asked residents at the Wyckoff Houses if they had seen a photo of Casilla after he was killed.
“I know nothing about the picture,” long-time resident Doug West said.
Another resident, a rapper called Melayugo, sided with Casilla’s mother: jealousy may have been a motive for the hit.
“You know, when you get to that high level of your career, a lot of people are not going to like you,” Melayugo told PIX 11.
Casilla’s former basketball coach agreed.
“I think that’s absolutely a possibility. They were jealous of his success in high school basketball. There were kids that didn’t like that he was the best basketball player in the building,” he said.