MONROVA, Montserado – Judge Roosevelt Willie of Criminal Court A has transferred the murder trial involving defendant Oliver Dillon to Criminal Court B at the Temple of Justice.
Willie’s decision comes in the wake of the prosecution’s demand for Willie’s recusal on grounds that the judge erred in granting bail to the defendant in his ruling.
On May 7, Willie ordered the bail and the release of Dillon based upon a motion filed by the defense counsel to admit the defendant to bail in light of insufficient evidence by the prosecution.
The prosecution’s resistance to Dillon’s bail led to a complaint filed before the Supreme Court Justice-in-Chamber Joseph Nagbe, arguing that Willie had erred in his decision.
Nagbe, following hearings, sided with the prosecution and said crucial elements in the indictment prohibited bail under the circumstances. The case was then sent back to the lower court.
Dillon’s cousin and the prominent academic and activist Robtel Neajai Pailey has publicly criticized the bail reversal as a “miscarriage of justice” in an opinion piece.
Since the ruling by the Supreme Court justice overturning the decision to grant the defendant bail, the prosecution insists that Judge Willie’s recusal is now necessary. In return, Willie has agreed with the prosecution.
“Given that the prosecution’s argument is that I have already touched the merit of the case in granting the defendant Dillion bail, their request for recusal will be granted,” Willie said. “Wherefore, and in view of the foregoing, the motion for recusal as applied for by the prosecution is hereby granted.”
According to the indictment, Dillon who usually parks his car on the premises of Jetty Trading Company in Gardnerville was attacked, along with his fiancée, by robbers on two separate occasions. On the night of the alleged murder, Dillon apparently realized he had forgotten his reading glasses and mobile phone in his parked car. He then left home to retrieve the items, taking with him a knife for his safety.
The indictment further stated that there were three men close to the parking area, including the victim. One of those men was also carrying a pair of scissors with him, and recognizing this, Dillon engaged his assailants with malicious intent to harm, the indictment further stated. Dillon allegedly stabbed the victim in his chest twice, leading to his death. He then fled the scene.
A coordinator of decentralization at the Ministry of Transport and brother of Sen. Darius Dillon of Montserrado, the defendant was arrested and charged with murder on April 17, 2019.
In light of Judge Willie’s recusal, the trial has now moved to Criminal Court B at the Temple of Justice for this November Term.
Feature photo from the Defendant Dillon Facebook page