A six-man jury panel at the Criminal Court “A”, Temple of Justice in Monrovia has handed a unanimous guilty verdict against defendant Sylvester Tarpeh Davies, for murdering his girlfriend Sonnie Tipayson, aged 23, on 28 November 2014.
Presiding Judge Roosevelt Willie has reserved judgment and sentencing of the defendant to Monday, March 9, 2015 at 10:30am.
Just after the jury’s decision on Monday, March 2, 2015, the late Sonnie’s mother, Madam Oretha Tipayson, called for a re-visitation of laws crafted against the crime “murder” to reinstate as punishment, “killing of those that kill others” or death penalty, to serve as deterrence against “would-be murderers.”
The victim’s mother told reporters outside court Monday that she wants her daughter’s spirit to torment defendant Davies everyday of his life, as imprisonment of murderers may not deter such crime.
Despite defendant Davies’ guilty plead to the indictment for murder in open court, his counsels led by Cllr. Elijah Cheapo, described the jurors’ unanimous guilty verdict as “erroneous verdict,” having unsuccessfully pleaded with jurors earlier to convict the defendant for a lesser crime of manslaughter and reduce his penalty.
He insisted that the jury panel should hold defendant Davies for manslaughter and not murder because according to him, “prosecution did not prove any essential evidence.”
Prior to defendant Davies’ conviction by jurors, the court had earlier yesterday fined Cllr. Cheapo and his team US$25 to be paid to government’s coffer in 24 hours, after Judge Willie found that the defense team had acted in a way that “undermined” and was “an affront” to the court to test its resolve.
Arguing for prosecution, Cllr. Serena F. Garlawolo said, the accused could not be held for manslaughter for a heinous crime he planned and executed on a day he knew everybody had abandoned their homes to witness the launch of a political rally by the main opposition Congress for Democratic Change or CDC for its senatorial candidate, George Weah.
Besides, Cllr. Garlawolo told jurors that the defendant had premeditated the murder of the late Sonnie to the extent that he first took money from his pocket and sent the two kids that were staying home with her to buy ‘kala’ or fried dough on the road before attacking her.
Finally, the state lawyers argued that police arrested defendant Davies in Grand Cape Mount County nine days after he had willfully murdered the victim, stocked her body in his father-in-law’s barrel, sealed it up and fled the crime scene.
Before resting with oral and documentary evidence in the case, prosecutors produced three witnesses, including Mr. Eric Tipayson, father of the late Sonnie and two senior police officers – Mr. Morris K. Willaims and Mr. Jerry Wymah.
The police said forensic findings showed that the victim was killed and stocked in the barrel. Mr. Eric Tipayson testified that his brother-in-law, Mr. Kortu Ballah,who was sick, had told him his daughter Sonnie had not come outdoors since she was attacked by defendant Davies.
Mr. Tipayson said he his daughter’s body in his barrel while trying to get his clothes out to press and attend a weeding meeting, days after search for the victim in the house and the community had failed.
By Winston W. Parley