Dancehall artist Vybz Kartel has been convicted for the 2011 murder of Clive “Lizard” Williams. Born Adidja Palmer, he was found guilty by a jury in Kingston, Jamaica on Thursday evening, along with three codefendants, the AP reports. Sentencing in the case has been scheduled for March 27.
Prosecutors alleged Williams was murdered in Kartel’s home in August 2011, following a dispute over missing firearms. They showed the jury text messages allegedly sent from Kartel’s Blackberry, which stated Williams had been chopped up like “mincemeat” and that Kartel intended to leave Jamaica. Williams’ body has not been found.
Kartel’s defense called the prosecution’s case “dishonest.” He plans to appeal the verdict. In a 2013 statement, Kartel wrote: “The Jamaican justice system is actually an injustice system. Vybz Kartel can’t get bail because he’s a flight risk. Our injustice system is not built for ghetto youths or their representatives.”
Lasting for 65 days, the trial was called the longest in Jamaica’s history.
New York rapper Busta Rhymes was present for Thursday’s proceedings, reportedly talking with Kartel’s defense team and offering support to his relatives and friends. (Kartel was featured on Rhyme’s 2012 album, Year of the Dragon.) Canadian rapper Drake also voiced support, writing “Mi Daddy. FOREVER WURL BOSS,” on Instagram, nodding to a popular Kartel nickname.
In the afternoon, before the announcement of the verdict, 200 supporters briefly broke through police barricades surrounding Kingston’s Home Circuit Court, shouting “Free Kartel.”
Later Thursday evening, one juror was arrested and charged with attempting to bribe the jury to find Kartel not guilty.
Kartel was charged with Williams’ murder in October 2011. He was taken into police custody earlier that month, when he was charged with another murder, of promoter Barrington “Bossie” Burton. He was acquitted in that case last year.
Emails to Dre Skull, the producer of Kartel’s most recent studio album, Kingston Story, were not immediately returned.
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