Jamaican dancehall artist Vybz Kartel, born Adidja Palmer, has been found guilty, along with four of his associates, of the 2011 murder of Clive “Lizard” Williams. After 65 days of trial — the longest running criminal hearing in Jamaica’s circuit court system– the verdict was decided by the jury with a 10-1 decision. According to Billboard, Palmer’s lawyers claim that the case was a setup by local law enforcement, citing a lack of evidence. Williams’ body still has not been found. Kartel and the co-acused will be sentenced on March 27th, however his attorneys will likely appeal the verdict.
Last October, Palmer gave a statement to FADER, via his rep, about his life on lockdown, contact with old friends and the current state of dancehall:
My daily routine is wake up, shower and back in my cell. It’s 23 hours lockdown. But I read and write for most of the day, and read or watch TV at night. I only deal with my business through my lawyer. If you’re asking if the former Gaza artists are in contact with me: no.
The Jamaican justice system is actually an injustice system. Vybz Kartel can’t get bail because he’s a flight risk. Our injustice system is not built for ghetto youths or their representatives.
Dancehall is in jail. Although the fact remains that if I die tomorrow dancehall will continue, it’s also a fact that the next artist to bring the energy, panache and “Vybz” to dancehall after Vybz Kartel isn’t here yet. Look for yourself. Since I’ve been in jail, reggae has taken over.