Hip-hop pioneer Kidd Creole, who was an original member of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, was sentenced to 16 years in prison for stabbing a homeless man to death in 2017.
Born Nathaniel Glover, the artist was found guilty of first-degree manslaughter last month. He was convicted of stabbing 55-year-old John Jolly on the street in midtown Manhattan on Aug. 1, 2017.
“Mr. Jolly’s death was devastating to his family and those who knew him,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin 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.”
Glover’s lawyer, Scottie Celestin, tells Rolling Stone, “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.”
Despite his place in early hip-hop history, Glover had been living a quiet life in recent years, working at a copy shop and living alone in a small apartment in the Bronx. “He was never making trouble,” one of his neighbors told Rolling Stone in 2017. “Sometimes, you didn’t even know he was home. When somebody told me the cops were in my building, my last thought was that it was for him. He was always saying hello and smiling.”
Glover was on his way to work when his fatal run-in with Jolly occurred. As described during the trial, the two began to exchange words, and while Glover walked away at first, he eventually turned around, approached Jolly again, and stabbed him twice with a steak knife. Jolly’s body was discovered by a group of tourists a few minutes later; he was taken to the hospital where he died of his stab wounds.
In a videotaped interview with police after the stabbing, Glover said he grew irritated because he thought Jolly was making sexual advances towards him. “He approached me. I got a little nervous,” Glover said (at the time he made these statements, Glover reportedly did not know that Jolly had died from his injuries). “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.”