SANNIQUELLIE, Nimba – The Eighth Judicial Circuit Court has sentenced a 29-year-old man to 30 years in prison without the possibility of early parole for murdering a Nigerian.
Oyiborededo O. Wilson, who lived in Toweh Yard Community in Ganta, went missing on the night of July 9, 2019 when he came out of his home to chase after criminals. His body was discovered a few days later in a swamp near the Ganta United Methodist compound.
Authorities were alerted to his disappearance when his fiancée, Beatrice Miller, reported the case to the Ganta Police Detachment. Following the complaint, police in Ganta launched an investigation, resulting in the arrest of Aaron Menmakeh and his accomplice, Oliver Young, on July 20, 2019.
Menmakeh told police that Young had been contracted by another Nigerian, only identified as Oglega, to kill Wilson, who had supposedly defaulted on paying drug money he owed. Menmakeh further told police that he and Young were expecting to be paid with 30 tubes of a drug known as “Italian White” by Oglega upon the completion of the contract.
While he and Young were carrying out the contract killing, Menmakeh said the late Wilson came out of his house with a cutlass and began to chase the two men into the swamp. In the swamp, Menmakeh recounted that Wilson slashed him with the cutlass on his head. Menmakeh said he was later able to grab Wilson called Young to help hold Wilson down. Menmakeh claimed he had to leave the scene because he was bleeding badly, and Young later told him that the mission was accomplished and Wilson was dead.
Based on Menmakeh’s statement and testimonies from witnesses, Menmakeh was charged with murder. The court ruled that the testimonies provided by witnesses established that Menmakeh had committed the act, with the assistance of Young, and not vice versa.
Judge Roland Dahn read out the verdict: “The evidence including testimonies of the witnesses and the defendant’s own voluntary statement before the police is sufficient to convict the defendant.”
The fact that Menmakeh committed the murder soon after he had been released on a three-month probation after serving a five-year sentence convinced the judge that he was a danger to the public.
“From all accounts, Aaron Menmakeh is a menace to society and his only pleasure is to engage in frustrating other families and bringing sorrow to them,” Dahn said. “He, therefore, deserves a death penalty, but because Liberia has abolished [the] death sentence, this court has nothing else to do but to impose the appropriate sentence commensurate with the gravity of the crime.”
Menmakeh is expected to serve 25 of his 30-year sentence at the Zwedru Corrections Palace before being eligible for parole.
Meanwhile, Menmakeh’s accomplice, Young, has been charged with criminal facilitation and is still at the Sanniquellie Central Prison, awaiting his trial. Judge Dahn said Young had pleaded guilty to the charge of criminal facilitation and the trial will commence once the prosecution can produce its witnesses. Liberian law still requires the state to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt even if the defendant pleads guilty to a charge.
Featured photo by Jerry Myers