Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
An Ekiti State High Court in Ado Ekiti yesterday sentenced two men and two women to death by hanging after finding them guilty of murder.
The convicts are Rashidat Abdul (f), 37; Oluwatosin Akarakiri (m), 32; Abdulrasheed Mutairu (m), 22, and Iyoriochile Eromoina (f), 18, who were sentenced to death by hanging.
The quartet is to pay the supreme price for the unlawful killing of a 70-year-old man, Samuel Oloyede, on April 5, 2017, in Odo Owa Ekiti, Ijero Local Government Area of Ekiti State.
Justice Oluwatoyin Abodunde held that the prosecution has proved the case of murder against the convicts beyond reasonable doubt.
The judge ruled that the convicts, by killing the deceased, contravened Section 316 Criminal Code, Cap C 16, Laws of Ekiti State of Nigeria 2012 and Section 301(2) (2) of Ekiti State Criminal Justice Law 2014.
Justice Abodunde held that: “I am persuaded that in the instant case, prosecution have proved the ingredients of murder beyond reasonable doubt by convincing and compelling qualitative unbroken circumstantial evidence and I so hold.
“The sentence of the court upon the four accused persons is that you be hanged by the neck until you be dead and may God have mercy on your souls.”
They were first arraigned on February 12, 2018, when the charge was read and interpreted to them, but pleaded not guilty.
According to the witnesses, the deceased was a pensioner who operated a brothel in his personal house as a means of livelihood where all the accused persons also lived.
There was a misunderstanding between the deceased and accused persons on payments and sharing formula.
They testified further that the accused persons vacated the premises leaving the deceased missing and later found his dead body on the fourth day under heap of cloths with his hands tied.
The matter was reported at the palace and later at Ijero Police Station.
To prove his case, the prosecutor, Oluwatoyin Marcus, called 12 witnesses, including the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) and the medical personnel who conducted postmortem examination on the cause of the deceased’s death.
Exhibits tendered included statements of the accused, statements of the witnesses, photographs of the deceased dead body and medical report.
The accused persons spoke in their own defence through their lawyer, Chris Omokhafe, and called no witness throughout the trial.