Liberia: Woman Gets 25-Year Imprisonment for Killing Boyfriend


Monrovia – Judge Roosevelt Willie has convicted Johnette Pinky Abu to 25 years, which she will serve at the Monrovia Central Prison.

Report by Bettie K. Johnson-Mbayo, bettie[email protected]

A conviction that both state prosecutors and defense lawyers excepted, and have announced an appeal to the Supreme Court.

State prosecutors said the sentencing was in contravention of the law, stating that the ruling should have either been death by hanging or life imprisonment.

Meanwhile, the Defense counsel rejected the ruling on grounds that 25 years of sentencing was too long for defendant.

Prior to the sentencing, Judge Willie ruled on the motion for new trial filed by her lawyers Cllr. Arthur Johnson on January 2, 2019.

The judge ruling on the law citations and argument put forth by the parties said there were three issues to be addressed.

He argued whether the prosecution proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt for which defendant should be guilty of the crime of murder.

According to him, the testimonies of the principal witness defendant Pinky, she had a good love relationship with the late Morris Johnson.

However, the behavior of late Morris Johnson suddenly changed when she gave birth to their daughter Paris. 

She further stated that on several occasions she was beaten by Morris Johnson and cited an example where she had to leave his residence and sort refuge at one of her friend’s place, and while there a meeting was held with her father in attendance during which time the deceased begged her and she returned home to him. 

Defendant Pinky also stated that at one point the deceased sent her a threatening message during which time he (Morris) stated that if he came back from Buchanan and met her at his residence, he would kill her, the baby and himself. 

She said it was this threat that made her leave his residence and leased an apartment at the SKD Sports complex, and by her departure, she understood that the love relationship never again existed. 

However, the deceased and defendant rekindled their relationship. And the Defendant said on this happened prior to the night of June 14, 2018, when the incident leading to his death occurred. 

During his ruling, Judge Willie said the issue of the weapon or the criminal agency that was used to stab the deceased is not in dispute because all of the witnesses testified to a knife. 

“The question is who used the knife to kill Morris Johnson? We again revert to the facts of the case; the defendant Pinky told the court that while she and her fiancée was in a fight when she managed to release herself from under him, she went for a knife to scare him… it is interesting to note that it is the knife that was used to stab the deceased.”

He, therefore, said there is no doubt when two people are fighting and one person takes a knife to scare another and the other being stabbed and subsequently die as far as this court is concerned there is no doubt.

Judge Willie said the law forbids that because the principles of self-defense, battered women syndrome are affirmative defenses. 

“Meaning that you go to the court and say that yes I did it. You cannot say the jury erred because the jury did not consider these principles.”

“Therefore, the defendant Pinky cannot say or cannot use the principles of self-defense, battle women’s syndrome and heat of passion and at the same say that she did not stab Johnson which led to his death.”

Defendant Abu spent her first night of conviction at the Monrovia Central prison on Monday. If the Supreme Court affirms the Circuit Court’s decision, the defendant will be 54 years when she is released.

According to Judge Willie defendant Pinky will stay 22 years behind bars while three years will be used as probation to complete her conviction.