Vybz Kartel, born Adidja Azim Palmer, was convicted of murder in the Caribbean Supreme Court. 10 of the 11-person jury found the Jamaican dancehall artist guilty, along with three others – Andre St. John, Kahira Jones, and Shawn Campbell. Shane Williams, another associate, was the only one found not guilty.
Although Vybz Kartel has been spending the last three years of his life in jail, his songs continue to be played and he is still considered a hero by many young Jamaicans. He is known for his innovative lyrics that often have a violent nature. He has also co-written a book while in prison entitled The Voice Of The Jamaican Ghetto: Incarcerated but not Silenced. The book was released in 2012.
Outside the streets of the Supreme Court, Jamaican police in full riot gear stood by while throngs of Vybz Kartel’s supporters waited for the verdict. They were ready for any outburst or disruption that may occur. The artist’s fans have already broke through barricades just before the jury session started and some 200 people were shouting “Free Kartel!”
Vybz Kartel supporters gathered in front of the courthouse before verdict was read
The trial went on for 65 days, which is the longest hearing that Jamaica’s court system has ever had.
According to prosecutors, Clive “Lizard” Williams was murdered in August 2011 in Vybz Kartel’s home. Williams was said to be beaten to death over missing guns that belonged to Vybz Kartel. The victim’s body has never turned up. During the trial, police also testified that they were able to recover a text message from the artist’s mobile phone that said that Williams’ body has been chopped up so fine that it will never be found.
Hip hop artist Busta Rhymes of Jamaican heritage was outside the courthouse to give Kartel support
Another twist to the high-profile case was the arrest of a male juror who was said to have attempted to bribe the jury supervisor to sway the panel into freeing Vybz Kartel.
This is not the first time Vybz Kartel got in trouble with the law. The artist, together with two others, allegedly killed businessman Barrington “Bossy” Burton in 2011. However, Vybz Kartel was found not guilty due to the lack of evidence from the prosecutors.
Vybz Kartel's lawyer speaks about Kartel's acquittal in the Barrington “Bossy” Burton murder trial
Vybz Kartel’s sentencing is slated for March 27. His lead attorneys are planning to appeal the verdict, as they say that there is a lack of hard evidence that links Vybz Kartel and his associates to Williams’ murder. They also say that the case against the artist is a conspiracy by the police in order to frame him.
Vybz Kartel feat. Spice : 'Romping Shop' -- Big Tune!
Image via YouTube