KINGSTON, Jamaica — After nearly three years behind bars, and Jamaica’s most highly publicized criminal trial, dancehall reggae star Vybz Kartel has finally had his day in court. The verdict? GUILTY!
The twelve person jury voted 11 to 1 to convict the artist and three coconspirators, Shawn “Storm” Campbell, Kahira Jones and André St John, for the October 2011 murder Clive “Lizard” Williams. A fourth, Shane Williams, was acquitted of any wrong doing. Funny enough, the 12th juror has since been arrested for trying to bribe the jury foreman and could face up to three years in jail.
While a body was never recovered, the police testified that they retrieved text message from Kartel’s phone in which he stated that Williams was chopped up like “minced meat” such that it would never be found. A total of 24 witnesses testified for the prosecution.
The mood were tense leading up to the final verdict, with police barricading the streets in the vicinity of the court house. Many fans and friends showed up to show support for the artist, including well known rapper, Busta Rhymes (See video below).
After the verdict, defense lawyer Tom Tavares-Finson said he would pursue an appeal, having already screamed fowl play throughout the course of the trial. All four guilty parties will report to court on the 27th of March for sentencing. Only time can tell how the rest will play out.
Side note: This actually Kartel’s second charge since he was arrested. The first, in which Kartel and company were accused of killing businessman Barrington “Bossy” Burton in 2011, was thrown out due to lack of evidence.
Update: (Well, not really). I was curious so I googled “Vybz Kartel Mr. Magnum” to see what I would find… funny stuff…
I was born ugly, but Vybz Kartel gives me hope for a lighter future lol "Me, Michael 'Cakesoap' Jackson!"
— Mr Magnum (@MrMagnumMusic) February 28, 2011
Apparently, in 2011, I didn’t know how to spell soap. :->