Liberia: Brother of Inspector General of Police Releases Murder Suspect without Trial; Victim’s Family Demands Justice

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Monrovia – Suspect Johnny Johnson, who allegedly killed his girlfriend Korpu Matadly on June 21, 2021, in Brewerville City, outside Monrovia, has been re- arrested and is now in Police custody, according to CSD Commander Gabriel Sudue, of Zone 6 Depot.

When suspect Johnson was first arrested after the murder, it was Sudue, brother of Police Inspector General Patrick Sudue who had released him previously, since he is the commander of the Zone 6 Police Depot.

Sudue’s justification for releasing Johnson is that the deceased family had dropped all murder-related charges, so he had to let Johnson go as a freed man.

“We kept the man in jail over time. The perpetrator was in jail from June 22 to July 6 before he was released. He was still in jail when the family even went to Bong County to bury their sister. The family said they were withdrawing the case and they signed a letter to that effect, of which I have as my proof,” said Commander Sudue.

Since July 6th Johnson had been a freed man until November 4th, when he was rearrested and placed behind bars at the same depot that he had been released from some months ago.

The suspect had to be re-arrested after the Matadly Family filed a formal complaint with the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) to seek justice into the death of their sister. The family claims the police were making no effort.

“Since Commander Sudue told us because we signed the letter, it meant we dropped all charges against Johnson, so we came to file our complaint to the human rights commission to seek justice for the death of our sister. The police who are supposed to be protecting us, released a murder suspect,” said Amos Matadly, brother of the deceased.

During a meeting at the Commission, in the presence of our reporter, who was invited by the family, the Commission took a statement from the family and pieces of evidence in their possession, including photographs, and launched an investigation into the matter.

“From what I have heard from the family, their human rights have been violated. According to the law, there is in no way a murder suspect should be released by a police commander without a court trial and say the family signed some letter to drop murder charges. So, with this, the Commission will get the police involved in finding the perpetrator or the commander will answer the question why he released an alleged perpetrator without a court trial,” Commissioner Pela Boker Wilson said.

Regardless of the alleged perpetrator being rearrested, legal experts are calling for Officer Sudue to be punished.

Atty. Samwar S. Fallah said CSD Commander Sudue must be punished for acting on his own and releasing a murder suspect outside of the law.

“That CSD Commander should be punished for releasing a murder suspect without a court trial. Punishing him will serve as a deterrent to others, and show that nobody is above the law,” said Atty. Fallah  

The family narrated that when the incident occurred, the alleged perpetrator called the family to say their sister died of cold but did not inform them that he was going to bury her without them being involved.

“When we arrived at the house where our sister died, we met Johnson, finished digging a grave and was about to bury her in our absence. We told him not to go ahead with the burial. We could not allow him to bury the lady without knowing what killed her. So, we took the body for examination,” said Amos Matadly, brother of the deceased.

The death certificate, which this newspaper has a copy, from City Laboratory and Clinic in Virginia, the deceased died because of a fracture or broken neck and internal bleeding.

The certificate was signed by Dr. Boakai Fofana on June 22, 2021.

The family further explained that two days after their sister’s death, they asked the police to release her body to them for burial because it was decomposing.

They alleged that Commander Sudue had written a letter and forced them to affix their signatures to say they were dropping all murder-related charges, or they could not take delivery of their sister’s body, so they did. According to them, to their utmost surprise, they saw Johnson out and moving around in the community. They were told that he had been released by CSD Commander Gabriel Sudue. 

FrontPageAfrica found out from neighbors where the couple lived that Johnson was always fond of beating on the deceased, and many times they (neighbors) had to intervene and stop him from further beating on her. 

“He always used to beat his woman; so, when we heard her crying that night, we thought it was one of the usual fights they were having. Nobody intervened until we saw her dead the next morning,” one of them said.

Expressing their disappointments over why the police released the perpetrator from their custody in the first place, just to have him re-arrested, Mr. Matadly said if the police had kept the perpetrator in custody and proceeded with the case, matters would have been laid to rest a long time ago.

“We do not know why the police released him in the first place when the case did not go to court. So, re-arresting a man who was supposed to be in police custody, is just to cover up their own shame,” said Matadly.

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