The popular reggae singer gunned down with his secret girlfriend outside a seedy Bronx hotel had taunted his romantic rival and accused killer in song. In “Nah Lef Joe,” released in 2010, Wayne Hamilton, 50, better known as Captain Barkey, sang of bedding a woman, then complaining in the chorus, “She tell me she nah lef Joe.”
Friends said the song was aimed at Joseph Kernizan, 42, the man cops are hunting for killing Hamilton and his lover Tracy Bennett early Saturday outside the Holiday Motel, where the doomed duo had booked a room.
“It’s a song about her not leaving Joe,” said Bennett’s longtime friend Bella, who declined to give her last name. “He was begging her to leave Joe for a long time.”
People close to Hamilton had repeatedly cautioned him to break off the steamy affair, warning him that Kernizan was “a serious man,” dancehall artist Wickerman told Jamaican entertainment news site One876Entertainment Saturday.
Bennett and Hamilton were about to get in her white Toyota Camry after an apparent early morning tryst at the hot-sheets motel when cops say they were confronted by Kernizan, a music promoter on Long Island who went by the nickname “Country.”
“Don’t do it! Don’t do it!” Bennett wailed, witnesses said, as she and Hamilton were gunned down.
Bennett, a nurse at a Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, L.I., had been dating the reggae star for five years, friends said.
Meanwhile, she struggled to leave Kernizan, the father of two of her three children.“He was so obsessed with her,” Bella said. As Bennett moved toward independence, even taking out an order of protection against Kernizan, he grew more enraged, the friend said.
“I know he wanted her dead — and the lover,” Bella said.
Other neighbors have said that police were frequently called to the house Kernizan and Bennett shared in Elmont. Hamilton, best known for his 1996 hit “Go Go Wine,” lived in Milwaukee with his wife, Mavis Hamilton.
She knew nothing about his affair with Bennett, even though he alluded to it in song. “Now that he’s dead, what can I do?” Mavis Hamilton, 48, said. “The memories that I’ll keep is the man that I know that loved me.” She left worried messages for him when she didn’t hear from him after taking him to the airport Friday for his New York trip.”