Kartel behind Bars: 10 highlights from the last 10 years

Vybz Kartel

September 29, 2011 is a day that will perhaps be forever etched into the memories of die-hearted Gaza fans. It was the day their leader and self-proclaimed ‘Worl’ Boss’ was first arrested by members of Jamaica’s Flying Squad at a hotel in New Kingston.

The deejay was taken into custody on ganja possession charges but was later slapped with additional charges including, murder, conspiracy to commit murder and illegal possession of a firearm. 

A decade has flown by, but the case is still as much talked about today as it was in 2011.

Journey with BUZZ as we take a trip down memory lane to re-visit the top 10 moments from the murder case that captured local and international press.

1.      October 4, 2011

The deejay appeared in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Court and was denied bail.

2.      March 23, 2012

The entertainer was granted $3 million bail but remained in jail in connection to a second murder, that of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams.

3.      November 18, 2013

The trial for the murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams began in the Home Circuit Court with jury selection. Jury selection was completed on November 20 that same year. The prosecution then outlined its case against Kartel and the four co-accused.

4.      January 2014

Corporal Shawn Brown of the Communications and Forensic Unit of OCID introduced the text messages he retrieved from the cellular phones attributed to Shawn Storm, Vybz Kartel and the murder victim. There was a message from a phone attributed to Lizard sent to his girlfriend’s phone on August 16, 2011, pleading with her to call the police, saying: “Teecha send call we,” and he feared for his life. On January 29, 2014, The Crown alleged that Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams was beaten to death on August 16, 2011, at Kartel’s house in Havendale, St Andrew, over two missing guns.

5.      March 13, 2014

 Kartel and three co-accused were found guilty. They are Shawn Campbell aka Shawn Storm, Kahira Jones and Andre St John. The fourth co-accused, Shane Williams was found not guilty. Sentencing for all four men was set for March 27.

The 65-day trial was, at the time, the longest-running criminal hearing in the history of Jamaica’s circuit court system.

6.      April 3, 2014

Justice Lennox Campbell, in Jamaica’s Supreme Court, sentenced Vybz Kartel to life in prison. He will not be eligible for parole until he serves 35 years of his life sentence. Shawn Campbell and Kahira Jones also received life sentences. They will be eligible for parole after serving 25 years of their life sentences. Andre St. John will be eligible for parole after serving 15 years of his life sentence.

Vybz Kartel and one of his co-accused, Shawn Storm

7.      March 2017

Kartel and his three co-accused were granted leave to appeal their convictions and sentence by the Court of Appeal.

8.      December 2, 2019

Appeal Court judges, via the Court Registrar in a letter, said judgement was in an advance stage of preparation.

9.      April 3, 2020

Vbyz Kartel’s much-anticipated appeal was dismissed in the Court of Appeal in downtown Kingston.

10.  September 25, 2020

Vybz Kartel and his co-accused have been granted conditional leave to go to the Privy Council in the United Kingdom to challenge their murder conviction.