Liberia: Court Sentences Man, 56, For Killing Pastor in Nimba County

Prison Security blocking FPA Reporter from taking photograph of convict Augustine Nyan Kewelleh

Sanniquellie – The resident judge of the 8th Judicial Circuit Court in Sanniquellie has sentenced two men Augustine Nya Kewelleh, 56, a resident of Ganta to three years and Aaron Menmakeh, 29, a resident of Guinea Road Community, to 30 years.

Kewelleh was on trial for instantly killing a pastor of the First Assembly of God Church in Ganta. After killing Bryant Mesleh with his car, he took the car away and burned it and absconded. He was later arrested by the police and charged with manslaughter.

In the ruling, Judge Roland Dahn convicted Kewelleh alias AU for reckless driving of a vehicle without light in the dark, and failure to report the incident.

“Wherefore and in view of the foregoing, Defendant Augustine Nya Kewelleh  of Ganta city,Nimba County, is hereby adjudged guilty of the charge of Manslaughter and sentenced to a prison term of three(3) years inclusive of the date of his imprisonment,” the Judge said.

“That is to say he will remain in jail for the period indicated less the number of years or months he has spent in jail until he shall have served his full sentence.  However, his prison term may be reviewed by a parole board after one year depending on his conduct and the conduct of his family towards the family of the bereaved resident.”

Several members of the First Assembly of God Church including people who had gathered to witness the final stage of the trial expressed disappointment in the justice system.

“This was not fair. A man who killed and was charged with Manslaughter should get five years sentence according to the law and not three years,” said Adolphus Dehmie.

Some residents of Sanniquellie accused the Public Defender, Cllr. Robertson P. Mehn, Judge Roland Dahn and the County Attorney, John D.Miah, of allegedly receiving US$30,000 from Kewelleh to reduce the jail time to three years.

Kewelleh was previously charged by the Police with Aggregated Assault and brought to the court but could not appear.

When contacted, Judge Dahn said he was dealing with the law and not on public sentiment. 

For County Attorney John D. Miah, he threatened to use “whatever means” available to him to silence any reporter who reports about him.

Public Defender, Cllr. Robertson P. Mehn, on the other hand, distanced himself from receiving some of the alleged US$30,000 bribe.

“If you indict me, I will sue FrontPageAfrica for this report,” Mehn said.

Meanwhile, the court has also sentenced 29-year-old man to 30 years. Aaron Menmakeh, a resident of Guinean Road Community, was on trial for “instantly killing a 38-year-old Nigerian Oyiboredo O. Wilson in Ganta on July 9, 2019.

According to Police sources, Menmakeh was wanted by the police and he has been involved with several allaged criminal activities in the county.