JOHANNESBURG – A court in South Africa found a hip-hop star guilty Tuesday of the murder of four schoolchildren in a drag-race crash that had victims' families worried that wealth and fame would get the accused off easy.
Molemo Maarohanye, best known by his stage name Jub Jub, faced charges of murder and attempted murder stemming from a March 8, 2010 drag race in which he and his co-accused drove cars that ploughed into a group of schoolchildren, killing four and seriously injuring two. The crash happened in Soweto, not far from the magistrate's court where they would be charged.
A magistrate ruled that the men had been driving under the influence of drugs, finding both guilty on four counts of murder and on two counts of attempted murder.
"The death of the deceased occurred as a result of the driving of those vehicles and as such the accused are convicted of driving their vehicles while under the influence of drugs," the magistrate said.
The case against Jub Jub, 32, was followed closely in South Africa, where many families worried the hip-hop star and his co-accused, Themba Tshabalala, would not be convicted because of their wealth. Jub Jub is one of the most recognizable artists in South Africa. Thousands of high school students protested during his bail hearing in May and riots erupted when he was granted bail. Some family members of the victims threatened to assault him after the case was postponed.
Families of the victims were overwhelmed with emotion after the decision was delivered, with one woman losing consciousness and schoolchildren breaking into tears, according to the South African Press Association.
Jub Jub will be sentenced in November.