He should have kept his dark secret.
The stepbrother of the man shot to death by former Bad Boy rapper G-Dep -- who inadvertently confessed to the crime 17 years later -- said the hapless hip-hop artist was foolish to cop to the cold case.
"I think he's an idiot," said Robert Henkel, 56, whose then-32-year-old stepbrother, John, was blasted in the chest with three bullets on Oct. 19, 1993.
"He has three kids and a wife. It was years and years and years ago. Finally, we're not always thinking about it . . . and now it has to be dug up all again."
The Harlem-born rapper, whose real name is Trevell Coleman, walked into the 25th Precinct Dec. 15 and admitted to the shooting -- later telling The Post he didn't even know Henkel had died in the attack. Coleman's lawyer claimed he unburdened himself as part of a 12-step anti-drug-addiction program.
A grand jury last week indicted G-Dep for murder.
"His mother told him, 'Don't turn yourself in,' " Henkel said, referring to The Post's exclusive jailhouse interview with the rapper.
"She was right . . . After all this time, yes, he just should have shut up."
Robert Henkel, who now lives in a rural upstate town, said the long-ago shooting was hard on his late stepmother -- though "she kept things to herself" -- and devastated his stepbrother Werner, who has psychological problems.
Both had remained in Ridgewood after the shooting.
"There was a lot of garbage going on -- race, drugs," the union carpenter said of the hard-scrabble neighborhood. "Today, you got to listen to bullets flying all day long. I'm glad I got my other brother up here with me."
Henkel said he wouldn't have known about G-Dep's confession if a Ridgewood neighbor hadn't gotten in touch with him and relayed the news.
"Then I went to the computer, and I've been following it every day," he said. "I've got mixed emotions about this whole thing . . . [Coleman] might have made something of his life."
As The Post reported, G-Dep was a featured artist on a new single, "On My Way," to be released Jan. 25 by Protekted Records artist and Brooklyn-born rapper Chi King.
Protekted CEO Jon Gornbein has vowed to donate a portion of the sales proceeds to surviving family members -- and Henkel said he'd accepted the offer and will use it to add a bedroom for Werner.
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