Rapper Kidd Creole is on trial for murder after he was accused of murdering a homeless man he thought was hitting on him.
Creole is a founding member of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, which was the first rap group to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. The group is best known for their 1982 hit “The Message”, which the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame said “exposed the dirty underside of a landscape known for partying”.
Creole, whose real name is Nathaniel Glover, is accused of fatally stabbing John Jolly, 55, just before midnight in midtown Manhattan on 1 August 2017. Jolly allegedly asked him “What’s up?” before the confrontation, authorities said.
The rapper has claimed self-defence. His lawyer Scottie Celestin told the jury on Friday (25 March) that Creole thought at the time that Jolly might have tried to harm him, the Associated Press reported.
“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?” Celestin argued. “His fear for his life was reasonable.”
The lawyer also claimed that Jolly did not die from the stab wounds but from a dose of the sedative benzodiazepine that was given to him while at the hospital.
However, assistant district attorney Mark Dahl told the court that Creole confessed when he spoke to police after Jolly had died. He said the rapper told authorities he didn’t stab the other man in self-defence but in anger because he thought Jolly was gay and 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,” Dahl said. “Was there anything that would prevent him from simply running away from Mr Jolly? No.”
The criminal complaint of the incident, which was obtained by ABC News in 2017, said Creole and Jolly got into an argument. The rapper allegedly “pulled out a knife that he had attached to his forearm with rubber bands and stabbed [Jolly] in the chest”.
Court records showed Kidd Creole voluntarily gave a videotaped statement to authorities after the police arrived at his home in the Bronx. The arresting officer said the rapper gave a statement to police, identified himself and Jolly in images taken from nearby surveillance video and showed police where he discarded the weapon.
Authorities said at the time 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).