Thursday, September 23, 2010

Jamaicans Anxiously Await Buju Verdict

Unsure whether artiste will be exonerated American jury
From: BY KIMMO MATTHEWS Observer staff reporter
Thursday, September 23, 2010

HOURS before a 13 member panel of jurors is expected to deliver a verdict in the case involving Reggae artiste Mark Mryie in Tampa Florida anxious Jamaicans are awaiting the results and expressing mixed views about the pending results.
"Him going to prison," one man, a bus operator identifying himself as 'Mark', told the Observer a few minutes ago.
He was one of several persons who the Observer is now interviewing on the streets about the case.
A 13-member panel of jurors in Tampa, Florida is now deliberating whether to find Reggae artiste Buju Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, guilty or innocent of conspiracy with intent to distribute five kilogrammes of cocaine.
Another man who identified himself as 'Shawn' said he strongly felt he would be set free.

Meanwhile, William Edwards who was at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston this afternoon said he really wanted Buju to be free but said based on the evidence it appeared he would be sentenced.
"I would love for him to be freed but based on the evidence it looks unlikely but I will be watching with my fingers crossed," said Edwards.
A female security guard at the hotel who seemed unsure, said she was praying for Myrie.
"All we can do his hope and pray," said the guard.
Another taxi operator along Waterloo Road said he hoped he was exonerated.
Myrie has maintained his innocence and says he was entrapped by government informant Alexander Johnson, a Colombian who has served three years for a drug offence. Banton told the court he was talking 'straight up crap' when he engaged in conversation with Johnson about drugs on a plane during an eight-hour flight from Madrid, Spain to Miami, Florida last year.
The artiste, along with James Mack and Ian Thomas, was arrested in December last year after Thomas and Mack were nabbed during an undercover drug sting at a warehouse in Sarasota, Tampa. If convicted Myrie faces a sentence of 20 years to life and a fine of up to US$4 million.

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