Presiding Criminal Court “A” Judge Roosevelt Z. Willie has sentenced Pastor James Mulbah of the Community Church in Paynesville to 18 years imprisonment for killing victim Patrick Yeanay, whom the convict had accused of being in love relationship with his wife, Mrs. Hannah Mulbah.
Judge Willie gave the 18 years imprisonment sentence to convict Mulbah on Wednesday morning, 31 August “instead of death or life imprisonment as provided for under the Penal Code, Section 50.5 or 51.3.” The sentence was announced after a jury panel had earlier handed a guilty verdict in the case at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia.
The judge’s decision followed after the convict had pleaded guilty to the murder charge in court prior to the jury’s guilty verdict, and pleaded for forgiveness. But the court instead entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf in order for prosecutors to prove his guilt since the murder crime is a capital offense.
Judge Willie ruled that defendant Mulbah will spend 15 years of his sentence behind bars, while the rest of the three years will be on probation, depending on ‘good behavior’ from the Prison Authorities.
Convict Mulbah killed victim Yeanay on the night of 23 March this year at 7:00pm in front of the Enterprise Store in the Redlight area of Paynesville outside Monrovia before fleeing to Tubmanburg City, Bomi County, Western Liberia where he was arrested 23 days later at his mother–In- law’s residence.
Prosecutors said he “planned, took and placed a deadly weapon (scissor) in his ‘money exchange bag’ with the intent to kill the deceased Patrick Yeanay” on 23 March. Inspector Eddie O. Kun from the Crime Services Department of the Liberia National Police or LNP and Abraham B. Ricks, Coroner of Montserrado County, were two State witnesses in the case, who testified in the case.
Inspector Kun told the court and jury that on 23 March, private security guard from the private firm EXECOM assigned at the Sugar Hill Community of Paynesville informed police authorities of an unconscious man lying in front of a Garee Warehouse, where local food products are stored in the community.
Witness Kun said when a police team comprising personnel from the Crime Against Person Unit and the Forensic Laboratory were dispatched to the scene, it was later confirmed that the victim in front of the warehouse was Yeanay, a local barber, who and his colleagues were operating about 60ft away from where he lied unconscious.
He said the police team’s physical examination of the victim found that he was lifeless, and that the only injury the victim had sustained was a punctual wound situated beneath his left breast caused by a sharp object such as a knife, cutlass, scissor or a nail.
Witness Kun additionally testified that the investigation found that one Pastor Mulbah, who was a money exchanger and petty trader in the very Sugar Hill area was a person of interest in the case.
After being arrested in Tubmanburg, Officer Kun said convict Mulbah was brought down to Monrovia on 17 April where he admitted to the crime of murder in the presence of his lawyer. Officer Kun said interview conducted with convict Mulbah’s wife Hannah established that her husband had been accusing her of being intimately involved with the deceased despite her denials.
He said Mrs. Mulbah told investigation that she heard victim Yeanay alarming that “the man jucked me-ooo,” when her husband apparently engaged the victim in a fight just after telling her that he was going home.
The state second witness Abraham B. Ricks had testified that a 15–man jury inquest, including himself, found out that victim Yeanay died violently from a stab wound under his left breast.
Witness Ricks testified that he took photo of the victim’s body, interviewed witnesses with their addresses, compiled his report and submitted it to his bosses at the Ministry of Justice in Monrovia.
The late Patrick Yeanay, who also traded in pedicure, including nails polish, encountered Mrs. Hannah Mulbah as a customer and went to regularly polish her nails even in the absence of her husband.
By Winston W. Parley-Editing by Jonathan Browne