Rapper 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, has been found guilty of manslaughter after killing a homeless man he assumed was gay.
The 62-year-old, real name is Nathaniel Glover, was making his way to a maintenance job in midtown Manhattan, NY around midnight on 1 August 2017 when he fatally stabbed a 55-year-old homeless man, later identified as John Jolly.
The victim had allegedly asked Glover “What’s up?”, initiating the interaction, leading to a dispute where Glover is said to have 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.”
Mr Jolly, who New York police said lived in a shelter, was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
The rapper has claimed self-defence and was angry, prosecutors say, because he thought Mr Jolly was gay and was hitting on him.
During the trial on 26 March, Glover’s lawyer Scottie Celestin claimed his actions were in self-defence.
“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?” he said. “His fear for his life was reasonable.”
Celestin also told the jury that Jolly’s death was not the result of his two stab wounds but from the hospital’s use of the sedative benzodiazepine during treatment.
However assistant district attorney Mark Dahl told the court at the time 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 showed 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.
“To tell the truth, I thought he was gay and because I thought he was gay, and he was saying that to me, ‘What’s up?’, I was thinking that he was thinking I was gay,” he said.
“I tried to back up a little bit, and he moved forward, and then I just took the knife and stabbed him… I wish I never would have seen him. It’s all my fault, because I chose to stab him. I have to take responsibility for that.”
Glover’s band, which was formed in the South Bronx in 1976, consisted of five other members; DJ Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel, Keith Cowboy, Scorpio (aka Mr Ness) and Rahiem.
Their music catalogue included the 1982 single ‘The Message’, and ‘White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)’, released in 1983.
Glover was found guilty of manslaughter by a Manhattan jury on Wednesday (6 April).
He now faces a prison sentence of up to 25 years when he is sentenced next month.