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Kartel looked pale before verdict

Published:Friday | March 14, 2014 | 12:00 AM
The police have under control, the crowd who gathered downtown Kingston yesterday for the Vybz Kartel trial.

Laura Koch, Gleaner Intern

Adidja Palmer, popularly known as Vybz Kartel, was pale, as he and his co-accused entered the courtroom minutes after 5:30 p.m. yesterday. Kartel's eyes were half closed and he didn't say a word.

Even when the judge entered the room, Kartel did not look up.

The co-accused - Shawn 'Shawn Storm' Campbell, Kahiro Jones, Shane Williams and Andre St John - seemed to joke to ease their strain and chatted.

The 11 jury members looking very serious, took their seats.

The tension was thick inside, as well as outside, the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston yesterday, and when the question was finally asked whether they found the entertainer guilty or not, the answer was: "Guilty". Some people in the crowded courtroom cried out in surprise, but Kartel kept his poker face, just gazing into space.

He and three others were found guilty of the August 16, 2011, murder of Clive 'Lizard' Williams. Shane Williams was set free.

Outside of the courthouse, police had set up barriers to keep spectators at bay.

Police estimated the crowd numbered 200 viewers, but it seemed to be many more. For hours, people waited for the jury's decision, all excited and dressed-up for the occasion.

They wanted Kartel freed, and women, especially, shouted: "Free Worl Boss!" and even "Free world leader!"

No interviews with crowd

But media workers were not allowed to talk to them. Even before the jury handed down its decision, police asked the media not to interview persons in the crowd because they wanted to prevent a possible outbreak of hysteria.

"People tried to get a bit rowdy, but we sorted that out," Deputy Superintendent of Police Steve Brown stated. "We are prepared for anything."

About 40 police officers, vehicles and even a water gun were in position from in the morning.

When the people learned that their musical role model was found guilty, many seemed in shock. Although they expressed disappointment, there was no violence, so the water gun wasn't brought into action.

Still, explosions - sounding like gun shots - were heard near the courthouse. Several persons dashed off in the direction of the explosions.