Monrovia – Troy Nelson, 19, has been sentenced to 25 years by criminal Court “A” for murdering a former General of the Armed Forces of Liberia.
Report by Bettie K. Johnson Mbayo, [email protected]
Nelson was indicted along with his mother Korpo Tarnue by the grand jury of Montserrado County on November 19, 2016 for murder and criminal facilitation.
During the trial prosecution lawyers produced and qualified seven witnesses while the defense produced eight witnesses.
Varbah Nyanquoi, the deceased General’s mother testified that on October 30, 2016 she saw her grand-daughter returning home and also saw the mother of the defendant enter her (Varbah) home and used invective.
The state witness said she tried to stop Tarnue but she would not be placated. At the time the deceased, Emmanuel Garbo, arrived and said – “If my daughter did something to you, why can’t you come and report her to me but rather stand and used invective.”
Tarnue left and went to slice her greens, then she called her son (Nelson), she took the knife and handed it to him.
Nelson placed it under his shirt and walked to the deceased, stabbed him in his neck and ran back to his mother Tarnue.
The deceased died at JFK Hospital days after he was taken to seek medical treatment.
The prosecution’s fourth witness, Abraham Ricks, told the court that on November 4, 2016, a physical examination was done and the deceased died from an injury sustained on his neck which was 6-inches deep and 4-inches wide and his jugular vein could be seen.
After the incident, defendant Nelson absconded and went in hiding and a search was launched by the Salem Depot. When he was found, he was taken to police headquarters for interrogation.
Dr. Soulamane Konneh also testified -“Due to the proximity of the stab wound and the bleeding vessel to the heart, efforts were made to seal up the bleeding vessel and it appeared initially to have stopped for two days after the first operation but suddenly started bleeding again.”
He continued: “On the third day while the deceased was on the ward being managed and due to pressure in the blood vessel, because of the closeness to his heart, he was taken for the second operation upon which he died on the table while resuscitating him.”
Nelson on taking the stand narrated that he was sitting at a booth around his neighborhood when a friend came running to him saying that the deceased was insulting his (defendant) mother and giving her some threatening remarks.
“When I got in the yard, I saw the deceased Emmanuel Garbo with screw driver in his hands and he was insulting my mother, so I tried to asked him what happened but he(deceased) said “you are the main person I am looking for but today I will kill you.”
Nelson continued: “ He said when he hear anymore word from me, he will kill me and he began to run behind me with the screw driver, so I picked up a rock and threw it at him, but I try running away from him but he was still following me.”
“So i had no alternative but to run to the kitchen and get a knife and my friend held my hand while the others were stopping the deceased, but he didn’t stop, his screw driver hit my eye, so I had no choice but ran to him and stabbed his neck,” he told the court.
Judge Roosevelt A.Z Willie in his ruling said the testimonies of both prosecution and defense, shows that the defendant acted with malice against the deceased.
Many of the defense witnesses said the defendant was never harmed by the deceased neither was he chased by the deceased as he narrated.
Though mother and son were indicted, the Court found Nelson guilty while his mother was not guilty.
His mother Tarnue was not charged by police officers but was only indicted which according to the court was in contravention of criminal investigation citing Weh Dennis and Mullenbury Vs. Republic of Liberia , 20LLR 47 (1970) SYL.9 texts at 65.
The probation office of the Ministry of Justice was ordered to do a report on Nelson upon which a final verdict was given.
The state prosecutors said the probation service should go beyond prior criminal records but extend the investigation to his character in the community adding that his conviction should be precedent on chapter 50 section 50.5 of the new penal law of Liberia.
The probation officer said the defendant has no prior criminal record upon which the maximum sentenced cannot affect him.
However, Nelson was sentenced to 25 years of imprisonment; 23 years will be spent behind bars while the 2 will be used for probation doing community service.
The prosecution took exception to the judge’s ruling and announce an appeal to the Supreme Court in its October term.