Jamaican dancehall and reggae star Vybz Kartel has been sentenced to life in prison for the 2011 murder of Clive “Lizard” Williams who was beaten to death at Kartel’s house over two missing guns in 2011; his body has never been found. Following his conviction last month, Kartel whose real name is Adidja Palmer received the harshest sentence of any of his co-defendants: he will serve 35 years in jail before he will be eligible for parole.
One of the key pieces of evidence in the 65-day murder trial was a text message retrieved from Kartel’s phone saying Williams had been chopped up in “mincemeat” and that his remains would never be located.
Fans lined up outside the courthouse as police in riot gear manned barricaded streets.
Once they heard the life sentence, they were overcome with emotion.
“Wickedness! They take away the ‘world boss,’” said one woman, referring to one of Kartel’s nicknames.
His camp reacted to the sentence, tweeting, “Addi never asked for nor expected anything else from the system that facilitated his conviction despite missing n tampered evidence.”
Defense lawyer Tom Tavares-Finson expects to file an appeal. “It is not over Gaza Army. It is not over,” his team assured fans. “Certain details we have to hold back but this is just a obstacle on the road to freedom.”
Kartel is one of dancehall’s biggest stars and has collaborated with artists including Jay Z, Rihanna, and Busta Rhymes, who attended the last day of his trial.