N.Y.

Kidd Creole, a Hip-Hop Pioneer, Sentenced to 16 Years in Killing

Nathaniel Glover, a member of the pioneering hip-hop group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, was sentenced Wednesday to 16 years in prison for killing a homeless man in 2017.

Mr. Glover, 62, who went by the stage name Kidd Creole, was convicted of manslaughter last month in the death of John Jolly, 55, whom he encountered while heading to work at a copy shop in Midtown Manhattan late at night.

After the two exchanged words, prosecutors said, Mr. Glover stabbed Mr. Jolly twice in the chest with a steak knife, then headed to his job, where he changed his clothes and washed the knife. He was arrested the next day.

The judge who sentenced Mr. Glover, Michele S. Rodney of State Supreme Court in Manhattan, said Wednesday that she was struck by his candor and contrition in his initial interviews with law enforcement officers after he was arrested.

But she said the evidence against Mr. Glover was significant, and she appeared to take issue with arguments made by his lawyer, Scottie Celestin, who said during the trial that his client had felt threatened in part because Mr. Jolly was homeless.

“A life is a life is a life,” Justice Rodney said before handing down the sentence, adding that the killing was not “somehow justified because the person is homeless.”

Mr. Glover could have been sentenced to as long as 25 years in prison. The lead prosecutor, Mark Dahl, asked for 18 years, noting that he, too, had been struck by Mr. Glover’s regret.

“I was taken aback by the manner with which he seemed to understand what he had done,” Mr. Dahl said.

But Mr. Dahl expressed frustration with Mr. Glover’s rejection of a plea deal that would have resulted in 10 years in prison and with some of the arguments made by Mr. Celestin, who argued in court that the hospital to which Mr. Jolly had been taken had bungled its treatment of his stab wounds.

He added that Mr. Glover seemed to have shed his contrition.

“The Nathaniel Glover who took responsibility on the day of the killing is not the man who stands before you today,” Mr. Dahl said. “He blames everyone but himself.”

Speaking to the judge, Mr. Glover said that he was disappointed at how the case had played out, adding that he had been portrayed as a person “who has no remorse or humanity.” He said that he expected to be exonerated.

Mr. Celestin said that he would appeal and, outside the courtroom, said Justice Rodney had exercised outsize influence over the trial.

He took issue with her not having allowed a “cultural expert” to testify that the term “what’s up” — the words with which Mr. Glover said Mr. Jolly had greeted him — could be viewed as a threat. And he said that the judge had not allowed Mr. Glover to argue that he had been defending himself that night, even though jurors had asked whether they could take self-defense into account.

A cousin of Ms. Jolly, Cheryl Horry, said that she, too, was disappointed and said that Mr. Glover should have received the maximum sentence, noting that he showed no remorse.

“He didn’t say sorry,” she said. “He didn’t even say sorry to his own family. That shows a lot.”

“Mr. Jolly’s death was devastating to his family and those who knew him,” said the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg. “Every life we lose to violent crime ripples throughout our entire city, and we will continue to ensure everyone in our borough can live their lives with the sense of safety and security they deserve.”

As one of the Furious Five, Mr. Glover was a key member of a group that brought hip-hop from the block parties where it was born into the recording studio. He was featured on early singles like “Superrappin’” and “Freedom,” and his brother, Melvin Glover, who uses the stage name Melle Mel, rapped on the group’s biggest hit, “The Message.” Another member, Keef Cowboy, is often credited with having invented the term “hip-hop.”

The group broke up in the late 1980s. While Melvin Glover continued to make music with another member of the group, Scorpio, Mr. Glover was soon working a temp job and living in a modest Bronx rooming house. He was still living there in August 2017, on the night he encountered Mr. Jolly.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button