Rapper Kidd Creole’s murder trial has opened with prosecutors saying he killed a homeless man in a fit of homophobic rage because he thought the man was coming on to him sexually.
The 61-year-old rapper, whose real name is Nathaniel Glover, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of John Jolly, 55. Glover was on his way to his maintenance job when he encountered Jolly on a street in Manhattan shortly before midnight August 1, 2017. Jolly asked him “What’s up?” and Glover then stabbed him twice in the chest.
Friday in a New York City courtroom, Assistant District Attorney Mark Dahl said it was homophobia that motivated Glover’s action, as he thought Jolly was hitting on him, the Associated Press reports. “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.”
Glover’s lawyer, Scottie Celestin, countered by saying the defendant feared a potentially fatal attack, not a sexual come-on, and that he stabbed Jolly in self-defense. “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 told jurors. “His fear for his life was reasonable.” He noted that Glover had been robbed previously and that Jolly was following him. He also contended that Jolly’s death was caused by a sedative given to him at the hospital where he was treated, not the stab wounds.
Glover was a member of the famed hip-hop collective Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, which in 2007 became the first rap group to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The group formed in the late 1970s and had a huge hit in 1982 with “The Message.” The band received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy in 2021, and the members were honored individually as well, except for Glover, because of the pending charges against him.
Glover has previously taken issue with the stabbing being characterized as a homophobic act. He told The Source last year that he gave a full statement to police, noting that he initially thought Jolly was coming on to him, but he quickly realized that wasn’t the case. Instead, he said, he feared that Jolly would physically assault him. “Now I’m fighting the image that they portrayed me as a person who’s intolerant of people with alternative lifestyles, and that’s not true. … I think they took that narrative in order to justify charging me with murder,” Glover said.
The trial continues this week.