Jamaican dancehall artist Vybz Kartel and three associates were convicted Thursday in the murder of Clive “Lizard” Williams. Jurors deliberated less than two hours before announcing their verdict, which may result in a life sentence for the popular dancehall musician.
In August 2011, prosecutors argued, Williams was taken to Kartel's home and beaten to death over two missing guns. Williams’ body has never been recovered, yet the prosecution was able to score a conviction based on voicemail and text messages alongside circumstantial evidence. According to the New York Times, Jamaican police found a text message on Vybz Kartel’s phone that Williams’ body had been chopped to “mincemeat.”
Kartel’s trial lasted 65 days, one of the longest trials in Jamaica's circuit court system, according to Jamaica Observer. Kartel’s lawyers will appeal the verdict.
In 2013, the singer, whose real name is Adidja Palmer, was acquitted of a separate murder charge stemming from the killing of Jamaican businessman and promoter Barrington "Bossie"’ Burton. Kartel was arrested for murder, conspiracy to murder and illegal possession of a firearm.
While one of Jamaica’s biggest stars, Vybz Kartel may be best known stateside for his collaborations with Rihanna ("You Don't Love Me [No, No, No]"), Missy Elliott ("Bad Man"), Pitbull ("Descarada [Dance]") and Busta Rhymes ("Wine & Go Down"). His 2011 album Kingston Story and 2013 album The Voice of the Jamaican Ghetto - Incarcerated But Not Silenced both reached Top 10 on Billboard’s U.S. Reggae chart.
The four men will be sentenced on March 27.