Vybz Kartel, Jamaican Dancehall Star, Charged with Murder
UPDATE: Kartel was not booked for court today, as previously announced, because the police say he was charged so late yesterday they couldn't list him. He will be listed for tomorrow.
UPDATE: LIME has just announced the cancelling of 'Teacha's Pet' with immediate effect.
Following an arrest on Friday Sept. 29, Jamaica's Major Investigation Taskforce (MIT) last night charged controversial dancehall superstar Vybz Kartel (born Adidja Palmer) with murder, conspiracy to murder and illegal possession of a firearm. MIT detectives made the charges against Kartel last night, following an interrogation of the artist yesterday afternoon in the presence of his attorneys. He is scheduled to appear in Kingston's Half-Way Tree Resident Magistrate's Court today.
Police charge that on Monday, July 11, 2011, Kartel along with other men conspired to murder Barrington 'Bossie' Burton, a 27-year-old businessman and music promoter based in the Kingston suburb of Portmore. Burton was murdered while standing with friends along Walkers Avenue in the Gregory Park area of Portmore. Born in Kingston, Kartel also known as Adi or Di Teacha was raised in Portmore; prior to his ascent to island wide stardom in 2003, Kartel enjoyed immense popularity and wielded tremendous influence in Portmore, initially as a party promoter.
Kartel was arrested by members of the Flying Squad division of the Jamaica Constabulary Force on Friday, September 30 and charged with possession of a small quantity of marijuana confiscated in a Kingston hotel room where he was staying during the filming of his reality dating show "Teacha's Pet," which debuted on Jamaica's CVM TV network on September 23rd. The premise of "Teacha's Pet" finds 20 women living in a Kingston house vying for the artist's affection; the show's lascivious content elicited condemnation of its sponsor, telecommunications company LIME. Those criticisms were heightened with Kartel's arrest last week; in light of yesterday's charges, LIME has yet to issue a statement about the show's future.
After being escorted from the unidentified hotel on Friday, Kartel was handcuffed and escorted by police to several premises he regularly frequents, while searches were conducted by a team from the Caribbean Search Center. The entourage first visited Kingston's upscale Norbrook community where the DJ resides, then went to a property on Swallowfield Avenue in Kingston's Havendale area. That residence was the scene of a fire several weeks ago; a scorched computer hard-drive and several boxes were removed. The entourage then drove to Portmore to a home purportedly owned by Kartel's mother, where a number of items were similarly confiscated.
Kartel was detained for the weekend allegedly in relation to a partially burned, decomposing body found inside the Swallowfield Avenue home. Although the artist has been arrested several times by Jamaican authorities (he was detained for two weeks in July 2010) this is the first time he has been charged with a crime.
Arguably Jamaica's most popular dancehall artist, Kartel is also its most controversial. Repeatedly criticized for the poor example he sets for the island's youth--his primary fan base--through his X-rated song lyrics and bleached skin, Kartel is also commended for the entrepreneurial spirit he brought to dancehall. His various business endeavors, which previously included Vybz Rum and Daggering Condoms, have employed roughly 40 people.