[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Thu Jun 23 12:49:46 CDT 2005
Death Sentence for Ex-Combatant
Former MODEL fighter's lawyer says killing was not intentional, pleads
with jury to exercise forgiveness.
Nyonoh Diah will die by hanging if the president endorses a death sentence
passed upon him following his conviction on murders charges in Grand Gedeh
The jury of the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court in Zwedru recently brought
a unanimous guilty verdict against Diah, a former rebel of the disbanded
Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL), for murdering Amos Kouyor.
Presiding Judge Harper Soe Bailey handed down the death sentence against
the former rebel on Friday, June 10, 2005, after a 12-man jury unanimously
convicted him of murder.
Speaking from his prison at the Zwedru Police Station on Saturday, June
11, Nyonoh told the Observer that he killed Amos, the only son of an aging
blind woman, Esther Kouyor, in Tuwloh Town, Konobo District, in June 2003
when his AK-47 rifle "mistakenly fired." The reported stray bullet from
the "mistaken fire" hit Amos in the head and instantly killed him, Nyonoh
However, three witnesses challenged his version during the trial. In their
testimonies, the witnesses narrated how a disagreement erupted between
Nyonoh and the late Amos over the deceased's refusal to take orders from
Nyonoh, they said, saw the victim's refusal as an affront and demanded
that he either obey or be shot. Nyonoh shot Amos when it was clear that he
would not obey his orders.
While Nyonoh contends that the incident took place in June 2003, witnesses
said the act was committed in April 2004.
As Judge Bailey summarized the case for the jurors at the close of the
trial, Nyonoh objected to the mention of the 2004 date. But the judge
simply overruled him by pointing out that the 2004 date was already
mentioned in the court records.
Before the jury of 10 females and two males, Grand Gedeh County Attorney
George Kaydea passionately pleaded with the jury to hand a guilty verdict
on the accused for killing the only son of a blind woman, almost the age
of many on the panel.
Amos' mother sat directly opposite the jury in the courtroom, a segment of
the unfinished ballroom of the Zwedru City Hall.
The man who defended the convicted killer was Morias T. Waylee. He
ironically serves as the Zwedru city Solicitor. The Defense Counsel told
the jurors that the killing was accidental and that the defendant pleaded
guilty and asked for mercy, saying his act was not intentional.
Handing down his ruling, Judge Bailey stated "The court's final judgment
is that defendant is guilty of the crime of murder and is sentenced to
death by hanging on the gallows by the Director of the Bureau of
Correction under a warrant of the President of the Republic of Liberia."
The Judge then ordered the Clerk of Court to communicate with the Bureau
of Correction to take over the living body of Nyonoh Diah and seek the
signing of his death.
If the President endorses his sentence, the defendant is to be hanged from
6:00 am to 6:00 pm until the Bureau certifies his death.
(source: Liberian Observer)
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