Jamaica’s Supreme Court on Thursday sentenced dancehall reggae star Vybz Kartel and three other men to life in prison for the 2011 murder of a former associate.
The tattooed 38-year-old Kartel — who was convicted along with his co-defendants last month of killing Clive “Lizard” Williams — will not be eligible for parole for 35 years.
The murder allegedly occurred at Kartel’s home.
Evidence from Kartel’s phone suggested that Williams’s body — which was never found — had been cut up into small pieces to make it unrecognizable.
Co-defendants Shawn Campbell and Kahira Jones were sentenced to life imprisonment, with parole possible in 25 years. Andre St. John was sentenced to life imprisonment, and eligible for parole in 30 years.
One suspect was found not guilty.
Kartel, who was born Adidja Palmer and is also known as “World Boss,” is immensely popular in the Caribbean island nation.
His fans praise him for his evocative lyrics, but critics say his explicit songs promote sexual promiscuity and violence. He has also been accused of homophobia.
Kartel has collaborated with some of the biggest names in music including Jay-Z, Rihanna, Eminem and Pharrell Williams. He also has promoted his own rum line, shoes and his own brand of condoms.
His trial was closely watched in Jamaica. There was a heavy security contingent around the courthouse in downtown Kingston throughout the lengthy trial, with the government seeking to deter any violence.
Kartel plans to appeal, his lawyer said.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]