Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5 rapper Kidd Creole (real name Nathaniel Glover) learned his fate in a New York City courtroom on Wednesday (May 4). According to Rolling Stone, the Hip Hop pioneer was sentenced to 16 years for the fatal stabbing of a homeless man named John Jolly in midtown Manhattan. Creole was convicted of first-degree manslaughter just last month, roughly four years after his initial arrest.
Attorney Scottie Celestin was shocked by the lengthy sentence and vowed to begin the appeal process. As he told RS, “I think today’s sentence is egregious and extreme. While I am disappointed, I continue to have faith in our judicial system. My focus is now on the appeal process. There are many appealable issues, specifically the denial of Mr. Glover being able to assert the justification of self defense, despite the fact that he was retreating and the victim followed behind him.
“While some may be happy with the the presumed victory of the acquittal on the top charge of Murder, we don’t view it as win. I believe the 16 years given are heavy handed, and motivated not by the evidence and mitigating facts but by external factors.”
Veteran New York City promotor Van Silk echoed Celestin’s sentiments, telling HipHopDX, “It’s a shame Kidd Creole is getting 16 years plus the four years he has already spent in jail. That’s 20 years of his life gone. He’ll be 75 years old when he get a out. Hopefully he can get a good appeal lawyer because this case is more than what is being put out there. Prayers to his family and the life that was lost regardless of the facts, because there’s been people who have done worse and have gotten a slap on the wrist.”
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg begged to differ and thinks Creole got what he deserved. He hopes it will send a message to anyone considering to commit a violent crime.
“Mr. Jolly’s death was devastating to his family and those who knew him,” Bragg said in a statement. “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. This case makes clear that if you commit violent crime, we will hold you accountable, and I thank our team for their hard work achieving justice in this matter.”
Kidd Creole was on his way to work when the violent run-in with Jolly took place. As he told police at the time, “He approached me. I got a little nervous. So then I tried to back up a little bit, and he moved forward, and then I just took the knife and stabbed him … I wish I never would have seen him. It’s all my fault, because I chose to stab him. I have to take responsibility for that.”
Celestin has always maintained he acted in self-defense and believed “his fear for his life was reasonable.” There are also various accounts suggesting Jolly didn’t actually die from the stab wounds. Instead, some think he died from a dose of the sedative benzodiazepine that was given to him at a hospital.
“Personally, I feel that Kidd Creole is being charged with manslaughter and found guilty is unjustified,” Van Silk said. “Especially when Mr. Jolly, who came towards Creole, didn’t die from the stab wounds but from the dose of medicine given to him at the hospital.”
The sentence comes as Sylvia Robinson — who signed Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5 to Sugar Hill Records in 1980 — was announced as one of 13 who will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on November 5. She will join Eminem, Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie, Pat Benatar, Duran Duran, Judas Priest, Eurythmics, Carly Simon, Henry Belafonte, Elizabeth Cotten, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Allen Grubman and Jimmy Iovine.