Embattled Dancehall superstar, Adidja Palmer, more popularly known as Vybz Kartel has been convicted of the murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams following a majority verdict returned by the presiding jury in the case Thursday evening.
Kartel, along with Shawn ‘Shawn Storm’ Campbell, Kahira Jones and Andre ‘Mad Suss’ St. John were all found guilty of the murder by a 10-1 majority verdict, which was confirmed following a deliberation which took just over two hours in the Home Circuit Court. Shane Williams, another of the co-accused, was found not guilty and immediately released by presiding judge, Lennox Campbell.
The verdict concluded a nearly 65-day-long trial which began last November, the longest trial in Jamaican history. Scenes outside downtown Kingston were tense, with large crowds congregating in anticipation of the verdict surrounded by a heavy police presence. A general shock and anger was seen once word filtered through that Kartel was found guilty, with said crowds breaking through police barriers, protesting and demanding answers as officers aimed to cordon them off and dissuade any illegal activity.
The Police High Command commended investigators, the Crown and witnesses who came forward to to help piece together aspects of the case.
"Over the last two years, police investigators and prosecutors have worked assiduously to put a very strong and comprehensive case together," they said in a statement late Thursday. "The coming forward of the witnesses to ensure justice is served is testament to how our justice system can work if citizens stand up and play their part."
In addition to the convictions, a male juror in the Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams case was arrested and will be prosecuted according to multiple reports after it was alleged he attempted to bribe the foreman of the jury panel with JA$500,000. The foreman rejected the alleged offer and reported this alleged bribery to the judge.
Reaction around the entertainment world was swift following Kartel's conviction. His long-time protégé, Gaza Slim, who faces conspiracy charges stemming from the Williams murder case, was left in tears by the verdict, writing on her Facebook page, "Adidja Palmer has done so much for me. That man taught me things I didn't know of and principles of things in life, he is a good person...Big up your self addi I appreciate all that you have done and I will never forget you."
Prominent deejay, Konshens offered an Instagram post with a throwback picture of himself and Kartel with the caption, "If u from the streets u wish this on no man... Hol' up u head Adijah."
Even award-winning Canadian rap star, Drake took time on his Instagram to hail the self-professed 'Worl' Boss,' with a post captioned, 'Mi Daddy, Forever Wurl Boss.'
Vybz Kartel and his co-accused will officially be sentenced on March 27. However, his legal team, headed by Tom Tavares-Finson has indicated they will file an appeal with a higher court in attempt to have the conviction overturned.
The men are facing a maximum sentence of life in prison.