The Klansman gang had connections with incarcerated dancehall artist Vybz Kartel, which even saw them carrying out hits on his instructions, a Crown witness testified yesterday in the trial of 33 people accused of being members of the St Catherine-based criminal organisation.
The witness is the second ex-member of the gang to give evidence against the outfit. When he took the stand last week to begin his so far riveting testimony, he had told the court that the gang had powerful connections to top people in society, including entertainers.
Yesterday, while identifying the accused Jahzeel Blake, otherwise called Squeeze Eye, the witness disclosed that several members of the gang had found themselves at McKinley Crescent in Kingston and had spent the day into the night there on the instructions of accused gang leader Andre “Blackman” Bryan.
Asked by the prosecutor leading the evidence why they had spent so much time at that location, he said, “Blackman sent mi there to ensure a music video was shot. It was a Kartel video, Buck Up Inna.”
According to the witness, during that time he had several opportunities to observe the accused he was identifying.
He then went on to volunteer information about an individual whom he said has the phone numbers of three members of the gang, namely Bryan, Kirk/Biggs, and himself. He told the court the individual was behind three shootings, one of which was a double murder in Waterford, St Catherine, and the attempted murder of an artiste on Hellshire Road, also in that parish.
“This instruction was given to me by Vybz Kartel by phone,” the witness claimed, evoking gasps from several in the courtroom.
Kartel, whose real name is Adidja Palmer, and his three co-accused were in 2014 sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Clive “Lizard” Williams. Kartel is to serve 35 years in prison before being eligible for parole. His co-accused, Shawn “Shawn Storm” Campbell, is to serve 25 years before he is eligible for parole, while Kahira Jones is serving 25 years and Andre St John, 30 years. The sentences are being appealed.
Earlier yesterday, the witness referenced multiple visits by himself and Bryan to the St Andrew studios of dancehall artiste I-Octane, whose real name is Byiome Muir.
According to the witness, while at the studio, I-Octane would be recording music.
“More than one time we went to the studio,” the witness said, adding that the facility was located on Dunrobin Avenue going toward Constant Spring Road in a plaza next to a car mart.
He made the disclosure in the course of identifying the accused Fabian Johnson, otherwise called Crocs, who he said accompanied himself and Bryan on those night-time visits.