Rapper Kid Creole was convicted of manslaughter on Wednesday in the stabbing death of a homeless man on a Manhattan sidewalk nearly five years ago.
Creole, whose real name is Nathaniel Glover, did not deny stabbing John Jolly, 55, just before midnight on the evening of August 1, 2017, but claimed he acted in self-defense. Prosecutors said Glover, 61, stabbed John Jolly, 55, not because he feared for his life but because he believed Jolly had made a sexual advance toward him.
The stabbing was caught on security video.
"Nathaniel Glover committed a shocking act of violence," Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, said in a statement reported by The New York Times following the verdict. "This conviction makes clear my office will hold people who commit violent crime accountable to the full extent of the law."
Prosecutors said in court Glover was walking to his job just before midnight on August 1, 2017, when Jolly asked him "What's up?" which they say the former rapper interpreted as a sexual advance. The pair exchanged words, and Glover pulled out a knife and stabbed Jolly in the torso before running away.
"The defendant confessed to pulling out a kitchen knife and repeatedly thrusting it into the body of a stranger on the street, killing him," Assistant District Attorney Mark Dahl argued in court last month. "Was there anything that would prevent him from simply running away from Mr. Jolly? No."
Glover's lawyer disputed the prosecution's interpretation of the evening's events, instead claiming Glover had been the victim of a previous robbery, feared for his life, and acted 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 asked jurors. "His fear for his life was reasonable."
Celestin also claimed Jolly's death was the result of a sedative given to him at the hospital and not because her client stabbed him in the chest.
Glover was previously a member of the hip-hop collective Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, best known for the 1982 hit "The Message." In 2007 they became the first rap group inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy in 2021, although Glover was not individually honored because he was in custody awaiting trial.
Glover will return to court for sentencing on May 4.