A New York judge on Wednesday sentenced rapper The Kidd Creole – a member of the pioneering hip-hop group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five – to 16 years in prison for fatally stabbing a homeless man on a Manhattan street in 2017.
The lengthy sentence for the 61-year-old rapper, whose real name is Nathaniel Glover, came a month after he was convicted by a jury of first-degree manslaughter over the killing of 55-year-old John Jolly during an altercation in Midtown in August 2017.
“Mr. Jolly’s death was devastating to his family and those who knew him,” said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr. in a statement after the sentencing. “This case makes clear that if you commit violent crime, we will hold you accountable, and I thank our team for their hard work achieving justice in this matter.”
Prosecutors say on August 1, 2017, Glover exchanged words with Jolly on East 43rd Street, then turned around and met him face-to-face before stabbing him twice in the torso with a steak knife. Jolly was discovered by tourists and transported to the hospital, where he died of his wounds. Glover was later arrested at his home in the Bronx.
According to the New York Post, at a trial last month Glover’s attorney argued that his client had acted in self-defense. He said the stab wounds themselves were not life-threatening, but that Jolly died as a result of his mistreatment at the hospital. Prosecutors called those arguments “absurd.”
In a statement to Billboard following Wednesday’s hearing, Glover’s attorney Scottie Celestin called the 16-year sentence “egregious and extreme” but said he was “confident this verdict will be reversed on appeal.”
“While I am disappointed, I continue to have faith in our judicial system. My focus is now on the appeal process,” Celestin said. “There are many appealable issues, specifically the denial of Mr. Glover being able to assert the justification of self-defense, despite the fact that he was retreating and the victim followed behind him.”
Formed in 1978 in the South Bronx, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five is widely seen as instrumental to the early development of hip-hop. The group achieved mainstream success with the 1982 album The Message, which reached No. 53 on the Billboard 200 and spent 24 weeks on the chart. The group, which split up permanently in 1987, was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007 and received a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy this year.