(Jamaica Observer) Reggae artiste Buju Banton was yesterday sentenced to 10 years by United States magistrate Jim Moody in the Sam M Gibbons US Court in Tampa Florida. He will be incarcerated at the FCI prison facility in Miami.
The charge of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug offense was dropped however.
The artiste was slapped with the heavy sentence despite pleas for leniency by his attorney, his children, movie star Danny Glover and other character witnesses.
Banton, whose real name is Mark Anthony Myrie, seemed resigned to accept his fate and calmly accepted the verdict.
His attorney David Oscar Markus has signalled his intent to appeal Banton’s guilty verdict and indicated that he would move with alacrity to secure the artiste’s release.
The sentence was handed down in front of a packed courthouse which included members of the artiste’s family, his close friend Wayne Wonder, his manager Traci McGregor and reporters.
Many persons, including artistes and Banton’s close friends Gramps Morgan and Delly Ranks who came to hear the verdict were turned back after court officials indicated that the courtroom was packed and Moody had already been seated at minutes to 9:00 am.
The sentencing hearing lasted just over an hour and many of Myrie’s supporters and family members cried openly.