Vybz Kartel has been found guilty of murder after a jury found that the Jamaican rapper and three other men lured a rival to Kartel’s home in 2011 and then murdered the man and dismembered his body.
In a tense courtroom in Kingston, Kartel and three co-defendants were convicted of killing Clive “Lizard” Williams in August 2011. The high-profile trial was under tight security, with Jamaican police in riot gear protecting the courthouse and barricading streets outside.
The trial ended with a strange twist, with a male juror arrested Tuesday on charges of trying to bribe the jury foreman into acquitting Kartel.
Vybz Kartel, whose real name is Adidja Palmer, is a popular Dancehall rapper known for his violent and X-rated lyrics.
Police said the music was a case of art imitating life. Kartel was arrested in 2011 and charged with luring Williams to his home to answer for two illegal guns that had gone missing. Williams disappeared and authorities never found his body, but did retrieve a text message from Vybz Kartel’s phone saying that the man was chopped up into “mincemeat.”
Experts hope the murder conviction for Vybz Kartel can serve as a wake-up call for this violent subset.
“The artists are realizing that they cannot be a bad man and an entertainer,” said Dennis Howard, author of the book Rantin’ from Inside the Dancehall.
But even as Vybz Kartel was convicted of murder, his fans have remained supportive. Several turned out to hold signs in support of the rapper, who has a strong following especially among the country’s blighted slums.