March 14, 2014 11:38
Jamaican dancehall star Vybz Kartel found guilty of murder
The victim was murdered in a row over missing firearms at the performer's home
The musician and former reality TV star, real name Adidja Palmer, stood trial for the August 2011 murder of Clive 'Lizard' Williams. The killing was the result a row over two missing guns, reports the BBC. Prosecutors said Williams was beaten to death after being lured to Kartel's to account for the whereabouts of the firearms.
The high-profile trial saw parts of the Jamaican capital cordoned off in advance of the verdict, and police presence was increased. Before the jury gathered to deliberate, around 200 people broke through barricades shouting "Free Kartel!"
Following a 65-day trial, the 11-person jury's deliberations took less than two hours, and a 10-1 majority verdict was recorded. Palmer’s associates Shawn Campbell (aka Shawn Storm), Kahira Jones and Andre St John were also found guilty. A fourth man, Shane Williams, received the sole non-guilty verdict.
Billboard reports that the defence maintain that the case is a police conspiracy to frame Palmer and co, saying that the prosecution presented no evidence linking the accused to the murder. Defence lawyer Tom Tavares-Finson noted that witness statements and a compact disc containing evidence had gone missing.
Williams' body has never been found, but during the trial, police testified they recovered a text message from Kartel's phone saying he had been chopped up to "mincemeat".
Sentencing is due to take place on March 27, and Palmer’s lawyers have indicated they will appeal the verdict.
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