A jury panel at the Criminal Court “A” unanimously found defendant James Kesselly guilty of murdering his fiancé Marwwoi James at their residence on November 4, 2012 in the Rock Spring Valley Community.
Assigned Judge Blamo Dickson will hand down a final judgment next Monday, March 25, 2013 at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia, which may be a life imprisonment.
But the lead Defense Lawyer, Attorney Amos Kollie termed as erroneous, the unanimous guilty jury verdict, vowing to take advantage of statutes available. Ahead of the jury verdict yesterday, Atty. Kollie argued that the indictment drawn against defendant Kessely was a “4-1-9” intended to put the defendant into trouble.
The indictment said at about 5am, victim Marwwoi was murdered by her fiancé defendant James Kesselly after he deeply stabbed her about five centimeters long in the left breast with a sharp kitchen knife while attempting to strike an alleged criminal who he claimed was trying to force their window open while they were in bed.
The defendant, however, admitted mistakenly killing his fiancée in open court when the alleged criminal pushed the window screen against his hand in which he held the knife; thereby stabbing the victim he alleged was standing behind him.
But in the defense argument, they unsuccessfully begged the jury panel to either reduce the penalty to manslaughter or acquit the defendant of the murder crime on grounds that the prosecutors failed to prove murder in the case at bar.
Atty. Kollie argued that death by accident must not be consider as murder, saying in the commission of such crime, the suspect has to plan with wicked intent to kill another person.
He cited an instance of a convicted murderer [William G. Dweh- held in maximum prison at South Beach on death sentence] who killed and buried his fiancée [Venelsay Karsua] in his house in the Johnson Street community and fled Liberia for Togo in October 2011.
In the case with defendant James Kessely, Atty. Kollie said there’s no wicked intent proven, arguing that the defendant turned himself over to the Liberia National Police upon commission of the crime.
Opposed to the defense plea, state lawyers said the defendant tried to conceal the murder crime by wiping the bloody flood in his bed room, soaking the bed sheet in water and throwing the knife up into the ceiling before alarming.
Besides, the state lawyers contended that it was impossible for the “curved knife” to have deeply struck the victim horizontally on her left breast while standing behind him.
The state concluded that the defendant did not turn himself over to the police, but was fleeing mob action and had to run to the police after the incident was reported to the police.
Notwithstanding, Judge Blamo Dickson said in his charge to the jurors that the defendant lied and fooled both the court and police by not initially admitting the crime, but instead joined issues with the state by playing tricks and artifice when he demonstrated before investigators how a force from the window screen had struck the knife from his hand.
The judge noted that had the defendant admitted the commission of the act before the police, the case would have taken less time and resources to climax. Matters were, however, adjourned for Monday, March 25, 2013 at 10am.