More news on the Sinoe murder case. My earlier postings on the murder case and trial of the ten defendants date from August 30 and August 31. However, newspaper articles are not consistent. The Bush Chicken reports ten defendants (see my August 30 posting) whereas FrontPageAfrica mentions nine defendants (see my August 31 posting). The FrontPageAfrica article does not mention the names of Dennis Pyne and Alex Karpeh (mentioned in The Bush Chicken article) whereas FP Africa mentions as one of the defendants a certain Shelton Kelgbeh whose name does not appear in The Bush Chicken article. Moreover names are not consistent (Sylvester Charty – The Bush Chicken – versus Sylvester T. Cherdy – FP Africa).
Be that as it may, the article below – originally published by The Bush Chicken – reports that a jury has found seven of the ten defendants guilty, including Moses Solo, Teah Gmawlue, Sylvester Charty, Dennis P. Pyne, Victor Solo, Tweh Kelgbeh, and Alex Karpeh. The prosecution had abandoned its case against Marshall Gbala, Anthony Karmoh, and Swen Pyne for lack of evidence.
An interesting fact is that Amos Nyewallah, the father of the murdered woman, Willette Nyewallah, was accused by one of the defendants of having ordered his daughter’s murder. Earlier during the trial, Moses Solo, one of the defendants, who acknowledged being a member of the traditional society which is allegedly involved, testified and accused Amos Nyewallah of being the acting traditional chairman of the district (Nomorpoe District, in Sinoe County, where Johnny Town – the ‘crime scene’ – is located). Moses Solo also accused Amos Nyewallah of having ordered his daughter’s murder (see my August 30 posting). Amos Nyewallah denied the accusation. He acknowledged being a member of the traditional society, but said he held no position in it and warned that Solo’s statements could damage his reputation. What emerges from Solo’s accusation and Nyewallah’s denial is that the traditional society somehow played a role in the murder of Willette Nyewallah.
One of these days, judge Joe Barkon is expected to provide the final ruling, which will include the sentence the men who have been found guilty will face.
To be continued (webmaster FVDK).
Published: August 31, 2019
By: Sampson David – The Bush Chicken
BUCHANAN, Grand Bassa – A jury has found seven of the ten defendants guilty in the ongoing Sinoe murder and gang-rape case.
The case is being tried at the Second Judicial Circuit Court in Buchanan. The seven persons found guilty on August 30 include Moses Solo, Teah Gmawlue, Sylvester Charty, Dennis P. Pyne, Victor Solo, Tweh Kelgbeh, and Alex Karpeh.
Prior to the case, the prosecution, led by assistant justice minister for litigation Wesseh Alphonsus Wesseh, abandoned its case against three of the co-defendants because of a lack of sufficient evidence. Those co-defendants were Marshall Gbala, Anthony Karmoh, and Swen Pyne.
The rest of the defendants pleaded not guilty to the multiple indictments.
The case stems from a December 12, 2018 incident where three women were stripped naked, paraded, and gang-raped in Johnny Town, Nomorpoe District, Sinoe. They were accused of witchcraft and one of the women, Willette Nyewallah, was murdered and buried secretly in a swamp in Johnny Town.
The defendants were charged with murder, gang rape, aggravated assault, criminal facilitation, and criminal conspiracy and the case was transferred to the Second Judicial Circuit Court to avoid interference from powerful members of the traditional society.
The case began on August 13, with the defendants represented by a team of public defenders led by Grand Bassa’s public defender, Paul Jarvan.
The final argument of the case between the prosecution and defense lawyers was held on August 30, with several women and human rights groups, as well as family members and residents of Sinoe and Grand Bassa in attendance.
After close to two hours of arguments presented by lawyers from both sides, the jurors were charged by Judge Joe Barkon to come up with a fair and transparent verdict based on the arguments, testimonies, and evidence provided.
Of the 15 jurors, 3 were told to remain in the court as alternative jurors while 12 went into a room to deliberate.
Upon their return, 10 of the 12 jurors voted for a guilty verdict, while 2 abstained.
The head of the defense counsel, Jarvan, took exception to the jurors’ verdict, adding that he expected five of the seven persons who are not members of the traditional society to have been set free.
“The indictment said traditional people and the father of the deceased came and said only two persons up there, Alex Carpeh and Moses Solo, are members of the traditional society,” he said.
“In keeping with our practice, whenever a verdict is handed down, once the defense is dissatisfied with that verdict, it is the right of the defense to except to that verdict,” Jarvan added. “In short, what we are saying is that we are not satisfied because we provided our laws, we argued and prepared our memorandum and all the laws that we rely on they are all our legal memorandum.”
Jarvan said the defense counsel will file in a motion for a new trial and if denied, they will take exception to the final judgment.
He added that if the final judgment comes against his clients, he may appeal to the Supreme Court.
Jarvan can file a motion for retrial within five days, which could be denied by the judge.
Next week, the judge is expected to provide the final ruling, which will indicate the likely sentence the men may face.