By Patrick N. Mensah, Maryland County
An eighteen years old man, William J. Wilson, has been stabbed to death in Maryland County, southeast Liberia.
The tragedy occurred Friday, December 31, 2021, near a community called Civilized Gebio in Pleebo, Electoral District#2, Maryland.
Sources narrate that the late William and a colleague were locked in a heated argument over jersey on a football field during the morning hours of December 31, 2021.
The unidentified suspect had allegedly threatened to kill William during the early morning quarry, but his colleague players thought it was just a joke.
After practice that day subsequently during evening hours, while the late William was on his way to watch night service for the New Year, the suspect met him on the road and reminded him about his previous intention.
Sources continue that the deceased tried ignoring the threat, but the suspect brought out a knife and allegedly stabbed William on the left side of his chest.
The victim was immediately rushed to a nearby clinic, but due to the severity of his injuries, he was referred to the Pleebo Health Center where health authorities pronounced him dead upon arrival.
The father of the late William only identified as Mr. Wilson, terms the situation as unbelievable.
According to him, his son came from Grand Kru County that early Friday, New Year Eve to spend the festive seasons with the family.
Mr. Wilson said he was shocked to have heard that his son and the suspect had a heated argument prior to his suspected murder.
“It’s unbelievable because what I am hearing is that my son, who came just an hour ago to spend the festival with us, is now called the late because of football jersey”, he cried.
Meanwhile, the suspect after committing the act escaped the scene but was subsequently arrested and charged by the Liberia National Police for murder, criminal attempt to commit murder, aggravated assault and sent to the Pleebo Magisterial Court, awaiting trial.
Community dwellers describe the situation as regretting and worrisome, noting that the issue of lack of prison remains a major challenge in the county.
A community dweller, who spoke to The New Dawn, attributed an increased wave of crimes in Maryland County to the lack of prison to detain suspects.
“These things are happening because there is no prison center, some of these suspects when they are arrested, it is the victims that are asked to transport them”, the female resident explained.
“Could you imagine a boy has damaged about 62,800 of our country’s money but he was set free because the victim never had money to transport him to River Gee.”
Recently, the retired magistrate of the Pleebo Magisterial Court in Pleebo Sodokan district, Maryland County warned that the lack of prison facility in the county poses a serious threat to community dwellers.
Harper Central Prison, the only palace for correction and rehabilitation in the county, lies in ruins, nearly five months after angry citizens demanding justice for the gruesome murder of a student and motorcyclist, vandalized the facility and attacked a police station.
As a result, rule of law system in the county appears to be paralyzed.
According to Magistrate A. Boyee Mah, pretrial detainees are either held at Fish Town Correctional Palace in next door River Gee County or they are taken further to Zwedru Correctional Palace in Grand Gedeh County due to the poor state of the prison in Pleebo, Maryland County.
Though the road is paved, a drive from Harper City, Maryland to Fish Town, River Gee takes several hours and extending to Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County on a totally rough road takes about five hours.
Transportation fare per person is LRD3, 000 on a commercial motorbike and is between LRD1, 500 and 1,800 onboard public transport vehicles.
Magistrate Mah sees the situation as something challenging hence, he seeks urgent intervention from government.
Speaking in an interview over the weekend, he said the lack of prison poses a serious burden on the court’s ability to dispense justice.
Further lamenting the dilemma, he said the court usually finds itself in a ‘catch-22’ situation in which they don’t have the resources to transport defendants to the Fish Town Correctional Palace and won’t risk releasing them back into the community without prosecution.
In some cases, he revealed that complainants or people directly victimized are the ones who go the extra mile to transport defendants.
However, in cases where complainants can’t afford, “it can be a difficult situation,” he says.
When asked about the situation recently during an appearance on a community radio station in the county, Superintendent George Prowd reserved comment for a later time.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/marylanders-rally-to-renovate-prison-center/ Editing by Jonathan Browne