Metro Weekly

Tyler Perry Offers $100,000 Reward for Information on Gay Man’s Murder

Singer-songwriter Josiah “Jonty” Robinson was found strangled to death on a beach in Grenada, according to police.

Tyler Perry (left) and Josiah “Jonty” Robinson, Photos: Instagram.

Director, actor and playwright Tyler Perry is offering a $100,000 reward to anyone with information leading to the conviction of the person who killed a gay man in Grenada.

Perry announced the reward on his Instagram on Wednesday after receiving a call from friend and veteran publicist Yvette Noel-Schure about the death of her close friend Josiah “Jonty” Robinson, an openly gay singer-songwriter and Grenada native who performed under the name Jonty Dream.

Robinson’s body was discovered on the Morne Rouge Beach, in the southwestern part of the Caribbean island, on June 18. 

A police insider told the Grenadan newspaper The New Today that an autopsy — performed by an outside expert after two previous autopsies were inconclusive regarding the manner of death — revealed that Robinson had died from “manual strangulation with injuries to the cervical spine” and that his body had been thrown into the water.

The manner of death has led to speculation that Robinson was killed due to his sexual orientation, although the Royal Grenada Police Force has sought to dispel those rumors, saying in a statement that it has “gathered no evidence to that effect,” according to Loop News Caribbean

Grenada is a socially conservative Christian-majority country that has colonial-era laws criminalizing male same-sex relationships, which are punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The country also does not recognize same-sex marriage or adoption rights, and lacks legal protections for LGBTQ people, according to Equaldex, which collects information on LGBTQ rights and protections in various countries around the globe.

In his Instagram post offering the reward, Perry posted pictures of Robinson dancing on the beach and one of his selfies, as well as photos from his funeral, with the 24-year-old’s loved ones laying down a Pride flag while crying. 

“My soul ached as she shared that he was a young, gifted singer who was murdered because he was gay,” Perry wrote. “Yvette and I are offering a $100,000 dollar reward to anyone who brings forth information that leads to the conviction of the murderer.”

In the same post, Perry began to list off others that had been killed for ridiculous reasons. 

“My mind immediately went to [Matthew] Shepard, and all the other victims of racist, homophobic, antisemitic, xenophobic, senseless violence. This kid was 23, how is this ok? His mother is devastated,” he continued. “This pain is too common — the same pain of Marcia Williams, who I’ve been trying to help to find out what happened to her son Terrance in Collier County, Florida, for years now.”

Perry then shared a personal account of how his nephew died in prison three years ago. “It’s the pain that my sister and I carry not knowing what truly happened to my 25-year-old nephew, who we were told hung himself in prison just 3 years ago. The pain of not knowing is truly gut-wrenching.”

He ended the post with a request not only for information but for prayers for Robinson’s family and friends as well. 

“Please pray for his mother and Yvette and all of those that loved him, as well as every family who has been impacted by senseless violence,” Perry wrote.

Robinson’s father, a police officer, served as a member of former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas’ security detail from 2008-2013. 

The Royal Grenada Police Force has opened an investigation into Robinson’s death,  and has reportedly questioned multiple suspects, one of whom used to live with Robinson, although no arrests have been made.

Anyone with information about the case is urged to contact the Royal Grenada Criminal Investigation Division at +1 (473) 440-3921.

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!