Liberia: Trial Begins for 2 Men Who Allegedly Murdered German National in Grand Bassa

(L-R) Murder suspect Joseph Cole handcuffed along with co-defendant Emmanuel Kollie as they were being escorted back to the Kakata Central Prison after entering their not guilty plea at the 13th Judicial Circuit Court in Kakata, Margibi County

Kakata – Two men accused of taking part in the killing of the German national in an alleged armed robbery in Grand Bassa County on Tuesday, June 2, entered a not guilty plea at the onset of trial at the 13th Judicial Circuit Court in Kakata, Margibi County.

Report by Yawah Y. Jaivey, Contributor

The German national, Juergen Schedema, who was the Log Yard Manager of the International Consultant Company (ICC), was discovered dead early Wednesday morning, January 22, 2020 at the back of the log yard, which is located in Big Joe Town, more than a mile away from the port city of Buchanan. This discovery was made after unknown gunmen had struck the premises of the ICC the night before.

Murder suspect Emmanuel Kollie, 38, was arrested in the LPMC Road Community in Gbarnga, Bong County while one of his accomplices, Joseph Cole, was apprehended by the Liberia National Police in the Cotton Tree Community in Margibi County in connection to the alleged armed robbery case that resulted to the death of the German.

The Grand Jury of Grand Bassa County indicted defendants Emmanuel Kollie, Joseph Cole and others at large, including James Kollie, Shatta Bondo, Emmanuel alias ‘Sundayboy’, Francis Willie and others with the crimes of murder, armed robbery and criminal conspiracy.

The indictment stated: “On January 22, 2020, during the intervening hour of 11:45 pm in the port city of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, the defendants independently, willfully, purposefully, intentionally, recklessly and criminally under circumstances manifested in less valve for human life, killed Mr. Juergen Schedema, a German national. This is a capital offense of a felony of first the degree.”

The case was on March 14, 2020, transferred to Margibi County by Judge Joe S. Barkon, Sr., Resident Judge of the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court of Grand Bassa County.

Defendants Emmanuel Kollie and Joseph Cole in the dock of the courtroom on Tuesday, June 2, entered a not guilty plea after hearing the reading of the state’s indictment against them and others.

Responding to the defendants’ not guilty plea, prosecution team headed by Margibi County Attorney, Cllr. Deddeh H. Wilson, stressed that the defendants’ assertion ‘enjoins’ the court to further proceed with the case without any delay.

Cllr. Wilson added: “I pray the court for continuance of the trial to Thursday, June 4, 2020, so that materials and documental witnesses can be brought to be cross-examined.”

The defendants’ lawyer took no objection to the prosecution’s submission that was affirmatively granted by Judge Mardea Tarr-Chenoweth, the Resident Judge of the 13th Judicial Circuit Court of Margibi County presiding over the May Term of Court.

“The submission made by the prosecution is surprising and strange in that from the onset, it has been the state that has been requesting this assignment; some officials from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) even called me requesting to assign the case. Since it is murder trial, the state’s request for the continuance of the case for Thursday is granted and hereby so order,” Jugde Tarr-Chenoweth ordered.