Jamaican dancehall star Vybz Kartel (born Adidja Azim Palmer), 38, was found guilty on Thursday of murder in the August 2011 death of promoter Clive “Lizard” Williams.
According to the Jamaican Observer, Kartel, who has been behind bars while awaiting trial for close to three years, appeared “drained and forlorn” as the jury rendered the verdict in the case, which could land the once-popular reggae star behind bars for more than 20 years.
After deliberating for two hours, the jury voted 10-1 to find Kartel, as well as three co-defendants, Andre “Mad Suss” St. John, Kahira Jones and Shawn “Shawn Storm” Campbell, guilty in the slaying of Williams, 27. A fourth man, Shane Williams, was freed on the charges.
Prosecutors argued that Clive Williams was taken to Kartel’s St. Andrew house where he was beaten to death over two missing guns. According to reports, though no body or physical evidence was found, the prosecution relied on circumstantial evidence, voicemail and text messages to prove their case.
Kartel, who is known for hits including “Romping Shop,” “Dollar Sign,” “Clarks” and “Pon De Floor,” has collaborated with everyone from M.I.A. to Eminem, Busta Rhymes, Lil Wayne, Jay Z and Rihanna.
Kartel’s lawyers plan to appeal the verdict in the trial, which lasted 65 days and is believed to be one of the longest in the history of the Jamaican court system. The singer is facing a life sentence, though he could be eligible for parole in 15 or more years. Before his arrest in the Williams case, Kartel was due in court to answer murder and gun charges in an earlier slaying , that of 27-year-old promoter Barrington “Bossie” Burton, who was killed in July 2010.
The Observer reported that a male juror who attempted to bribe the jury foreman with an offer of $500,000 for a not guilty verdict was arrested just minutes after the trial’s conclusion on Thursday. All four defendants are scheduled for sentencing on March 27.
MTV Base Reports