Dancehall artist, Vybz Kartel may be preparing to spend the rest of his life in prison. The musician was just found guilty of murder — leaving the dance-hall world in disbelief.
Kartel, real name Adidja Azim Palmer, along with three other defendants were convicted and found guilty of killing a fellow associate, Clive “Lizard” Williams, in 2011.
The murder is said to have been acted out following a disagreement over a missing gun. A fourth defendant has been cleared of any wrongdoing.
On Thursday, Jamaican police in riot gear guarded streets outside, and parts of the capital Kingston were cordoned off in advance of the verdict to prevent any disruption by fans of the entertainer. However, shortly before the jury started to deliberate in the afternoon, about 200 people briefly broke through barricades at one intersection shouting “Free Kartel!”
Prosecutors alleged Williams was beaten to death at the reggae performer’s home in August 2011 after being lured there to answer for two missing illegal guns. His body has never been found. Police testified they retrieved a text message from Kartel’s phone saying Williams was chopped up in a “mincemeat” so fine that his remains would never be found. Kartel, whose real name is Adidja Palmer, has been in jail for about three years since his arrest in connection with the case.
Defence lawyer Tom Tavares-Finson had told jurors that the prosecution’s case against Kartel was “dishonest” and “incompetent”, noting that witness statements and a compact disc with evidence saved on it somehow went missing. After the verdict, he said he was planning to appeal on behalf of the convicted men.
Last year, another murder case against Kartel and two other co-defendants collapsed after prosecutors failed to produce evidence to support allegations that the trio killed businessman Barrington “Bossy” Burton in 2011.
In addition to the conviction, a male juror was arrested last Thursday evening on charges of attempting to bribe the jury foreman in an attempt to influence the panel to free Kartel. Authorities confirmed the arrest but gave no further details.
According to local media, the 65-day trial was the longest running criminal hearing in the history of Jamaica’s circuit court system…
Kartel is scheduled to appear in court for sentencing on March 27th.