Kidd Creole, a founding member of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, the first rap group to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, is on trial for murdering a homeless man he thought was hitting on him.
Creole, real name Nathanial Glover, is accused of stabbing a homeless man to death in 2017 while making his way to a maintenance job in midtown Manhattan around midnight on 1 August
The victim, later identified as 55-year-old John Jolly, allegedly asked him “What’s up?”, initiating the interaction, leading to a dispute where Glover allegedly stabbed the victim twice in the chest with a steak knife.
According to a criminal complaint obtained by ABC News, Glover allegedly “pulled out a knife that he had attached to his forearm with rubber bands and stabbed [Jolly] in the chest with the knife two times.”
The rapper has claimed self-defence and was angry, prosecutors say, because he thought Mr Jolly was gay and was hitting on him.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is New York City. It’s 12 o’clock at night. Who’s saying ‘What’s up?’ to you with good intentions?” Creole’s lawyer, Scottie Celestin, told the jury, reports Deadline. “His fear for his life was reasonable.”
Celestin also argued that Mr Jolly died from a dose of the sedative benzodiazepine that was given to him at a hospital, not the stab wounds.
However assistant district attorney Mark Dahl told the court that Glover confessed to police and did not stab Mr Jolly in self-defence, but rather in anger because he thought Mr Jolly was hitting on him.
“The defendant confessed to pulling out a kitchen knife and repeatedly thrusting it into the body of a stranger on the street, killing him,” Mr Dahl said.
“Was there anything that would prevent him from simply running away from Mr Jolly? No.”
Court records show Glover voluntarily gave a videotaped statement to police after they showed up at his house in the Bronx. The arresting officer said Glover gave a brief account of the confrontation, identified himself and the victim in three screen shots taken from surveillance video and informed the police where he discarded the knife.
Authorities said at the time of the incident that Creole thought Jolly was either preparing to rob him or was hitting on him, ABC News reported. The criminal complaint showed that Creole said he was afraid of Jolly.
The trial resumes on Monday (28 March).