Vybz Kartel, Dancehall Reggae Artist, Sentenced To Life In PrisonBy: Val Powell - April 4, 2014
Jamaican dancehall artist Vybz Kartel, born Adidja Azim Palmer, and three other associates were sentenced to life in prison for the 2011 murder of Clive “Lizard” Williams.
During the 65-day trial, considered as one of the longest in Jamaican history, fans of the artist showed their support while standing outside the Kingston courthouse waiting for the judge’s verdict.
Judge Lennox Campbell stated that Kartel must serve prison time for 35 years before he can be qualified for parole. That would mean that he will be 73-years-old by the time he gets out of prison on parole. Other associates who also received a life sentence were Andre St. John, Shawn Campbell, and Kahira Jones. A fourth associate, Shane Williams, was the only one who did not receive a guilty verdict from the jury, but is still facing a different murder case.
In 2011, Williams was called to Kartel’s residence to be questioned for two missing guns that Kartel owned. He was beaten to death, but his body was never found. The most incriminating evidence that helped convict Kartel of murder was a text message that was retrieved from his phone. The message stated that William’s body has been chopped up into fine pieces and that it will never be discovered.
The judge’s decision brought Kartel’s fans to a frenzy. One woman shouted, “Wickedness! They take away the ‘world boss,” calling Kartel by one of his nicknames.
Kartel’s case is controversial and has been difficult for the victim’s relatives, witnesses, and even officers. Williams’ family has been receiving threats. Detective Sgt. Patrick Linton’s home was attacked with a fire bomb. He is one of the people who testified against Kartel.
Williams’ murder is not the only case the 38-year-old artist is involved with. In 2011, he was arrested on drug charges, and just last year, he was involved in a case for Barrington “Bossy” Burton’s murder, which eventually collapsed due to lack of evidence.
Even through Kartel has been in jail since 2011, he was still able to record and release new songs from his jail cell with the use of a smartphone. He was also able to co-write a book about his life entitled “The Voice of the Jamaica Ghetto.”
Tad Dawkins of Tad’s Records, the label that released three of Kartel’s albums, said that Jamaica is saddened by the news, as Kartel has contributed a lot to reggae music. “We will support him in any way that we can,” he says.
Tom Tavares-Finson, Kartel’s representative, said that they are planning to file an appeal.
The Jamaica Gleaner reports from the streets of Jamaica
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