By Lincoln G. Peters
Jurors in Monrovia have found Liberia’s former Chief Justice Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott and three of her family members are guilty of the murder of the stateswoman’s daughter, Charloe Musu.
Eleven out of twelve jurors on the panel concurred through a verdict handed Thursday, 21 December 2023 that Cllr. Scott and Gertrude Newton, Alice Johnson, and Rebecca Youdeh Wisner were responsible for Charloe’s murder.
Throughout the trial, the accused maintained their innocence and pleaded not guilty to the indictment.
The defense team has announced an appeal to the Supreme Court of Liberia against the verdict.
The defense lawyer’s pathologist Dr. Matthias I. Okoye testified in the trial that the stabbings that killed Charloe were caused/done by a muscular male.
He also noted that none of the defendants could cause these wounds.
Dr. Okoye detailed that there was a foreign DNA of a male found in the middle fingernail of the left hand of the victim.
Notwithstanding, the jury decided Thursday that the accused were guilty of Charloe’s murder.
Their trial came after sanctioned Monrovia Mayor and ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) secretary general Jefferson Koijee denied ordering the brutal attack in which Charloe was murdered.
Liberia’s former Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) boss Cllr. Jerome Verdier accused Koijee of allegedly ordering Monrovia City Police official Varlee Telleh to carry out the attack.
Both Koijee and Telleh have denied the allegation that they were responsible for the attack at Cllr. Scott’s Brewerville residence.
Cllr. Scott said she had reported to police authorities two incidents of attacks at her home, but no action was taken before the third incident led to Charloe’s murder.
However, Cllr. Scott and her three family members were instead indicted by Liberian prosecutors for Charloe’s murder.
Following a trial that began in August this year, the jury deliberation lasted for less than thirty minutes for 11 members of the panel to find the accused guilty.
One of the jurors voted that Cllr. Scott and her co-defendants were not guilty.
The majority of the jurors said their decision was based on the evidence presented in the case and their fact-finding from the home of the former Chief Justice.
According to them, the evidence suggested that there was no break-in into the home or compound of Cllr. Scott.
“After careful consideration of the evidence presented during the trial, the jurors do hereby unanimously agree that the defendants are hereby adjoined guilty of the crime murders, criminal conspiracy, and making falsehood to law enforcement officers on this 21st Day of December 2023,’’ the verdict said.
Following multiple police charges regarding her daughter Charloe Musu’s murder, Cllr. Scott and three of her family members spent their night in jail on Tuesday, 20 June 2023.
The Liberia National Police (LN) charged them with murder, criminal conspiracy, and [providing] false information to law enforcement officers about Charloe’s brutal murder.
Their charges followed months of police investigation into Charloe’s murder.
Receiving the jury’s verdict, Criminal Court “A” Judge Roosevelt Z. Willie said the accused were found guilty by the jury panel.
“The trial jurors returned with a verdict from their deliberation room. The law says that the jurors that go into the room should be 12 persons. If not nine or more than nine that come with a verdict of guilty or not guilty, it’s that verdict that stands,” said Judge Willie.
“As for this verdict that has been brought by the trial jurors, they have left with guilty of the defendants. The defendants are hereby adjudged guilty,” he stated.
The prosecution accepted the trial jurors’ verdict, but the defense lawyers took an exception to it and vowed to go to the Supreme Court to examine the jurors’ decision.
Reacting to the jury’s verdict, the Spokesperson of the Scott family, Mr. Nathaniel S. Toes, Jr., said that the family rejected the jurors’ verdict, terming it as criminal.
“Nobody [is] going to allow a process that was characterized by bribery, criminal activities. It’s clear that the jurors were bribed and tampered with,” he alleged without giving any evidence.
“You were here when the Solicitor General of Liberia was accused of tampering with the jurors and he admitted visiting their quarter, but said he did not interact with the jurors,” Toes explained.
“Have you asked why the chief prosecutor was asked to leave the proceeding?” he noted.
According to him, the officers who disclosed the visitation of the Solicitor General were replaced with new officers.
He said they would not compromise because the defendants are innocent.
“I am not disappointed, but I know that the process was characterized by fraud and [criminality]. I know that instead of justice, we got injustice. We are going to go to the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court decision is not satisfactory to us, we will go to the ECOWAS Court.”