By Edwin G. Wandah
His Honor Judge Zuballah A. Kizeku of the 15th Judicial Circuit Court of Fish Town, River Gee County, has sentenced to 22 years of imprisonment of a 64-year old KalaboKayee who was arrested months ago for allegedly kidnapping 3-year Erick Nyumah.
Co-Defendant Betty Dweh-Nimely who was also arrested and indicted alongside defendant KalaboKayee on June 2, 2014 during the May Term of Court were held on Seven Counts by the Grand Jury for River Gee County.
The Seven (7)Counts Indictment; substantially alleged that on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at about noon, in ChedepoKalaboken, Chedepo District, River Gee County, defendant KalaboKayee, without the fear of God and the Statutory Laws of the Republic of Liberia; willfully, knowingly, wickedly, intentionally, criminally and with high degree of deceit, kidnapped and made away with 3-year old Erick Nyemah, Jr.
In furtherance, the Indictment, occurring in the aforementioned town and place, little Erick’s mother Helena Nyemah left her son, (Erick Nyemah), with a care-taker; 13-year old Mary Deh, to look after him with other children.
The indictment also indicated that when Co-defendant Kayee who is said to be the prime suspect went to Erick parents’ house, he wickedly and criminally deceived little Mary Deh by sending her to his defendant’s house to deliver a message to his (defendant’s) sister-in- law to afford him the opportunity to accomplish his deeds of kidnapping the kid, Erick Nyemah.
When Mary Deh returned to the yard, co-defendant Kayee had disappeared, and Mary could not find Little Erick Nyemah, among the other children who were left at the house to play before she was sent, but co-defendant Kayee was immediately seen leaving the scene by co-defendant Betty- DwehNimely carrying Little Erick under his arm but did not report the incident to anyone.
In conclusion, the defendants’ act were in contrary to 4LCLR, Title 26, section 14.50(1)(a)(b)(d) and (2) and 4LCLR, Title 26, section 2.2(b) of the Penal Law of the Republic of Liberia and against the peace and dignity of the Republic of Liberia, but prior to the reading of the indictment to the defendants, Prosecuting Counsel entered a plea of nulleprosequao in favor of co-defendant Betty Nimely who served as State inside witness, while defendant Kayee pleaded not guilty to the indictment and his lawyers moved the court for a bench trial, which was granted.
Meanwhile, during the trial, the State produced four witnesses including Betty Nimely , Mary Deh, the child’s mother and Deputy Police Commander, Maxwell Tarwilly, CSD/LNP, who all testified as to the disappearance of Little Erick Nyemah, but most particularly Betty Nimely testified that at noon time on the fateful day, she went to fetch water from the hand pump at the entrance of the town and saw defendant KlaboKayee running with little Erick under his arm, and when she confronted the defendant as where he was taking the child, he told her to mind her own business.
When she was asked by State Lawyers why she never reported the incident to the town’s people, the witness replied that she was afraid of defendant Kayee because he was her employer at the Town Public School where she served as a cook. She also informed the court that defendant Kayee was her in-law and that she had since been married to Kayee’s younger brother.
She also explained that as a tradition, and as a stranger from a different district, she was afraid of reprisal since defendant Kayee was the school’s principal of the town’s only public school and also as key elder of the district and she has also learned that his brother CheaKayee served as a Representative when River Gee was part of Grand Gedeh County during Samuel Doe’s Administration.
Another State witness, Mary Deh testified to the disappearance of little Erick and for Mary Deh, she narrated how defendant Kayee entered the house and asked her to go and deliver a message to his sister-in-law and when she returned from the defendant’s house she could not find little Erick and defendant Kayee.
Meanwhile, when defendant Kayee took the stand, he admitted sending Mary Deh to his house but denied any wrong doing or being involved in the kidnap of the child. According to him, he left for GbeapoKanweaken and never waited for Mary to return because he did not expect a return from the message from his sister-in-law.
State Lawyers again argued that it was impossible for defendant Kayeeto to have taken a bike to Kanweaken without knowing the identity of the rider who defense claimed had earlier conveyed a passenger in the Kalaboken and could not produce that passenger in court as one of his witnesses who he told the court that the motorcyclist carried to Kaboloken before hiring him to take him to GbeapoKanweaken on that same day.
Defense second witness, KehKonneh, River Gee County Inspector said that Kayee went to him during his trip to the town when the child got missing and that the bike rider lives in the nearby town of Jarkarken.
Presiding Judge Kizeku, during his final ruling said that the State prosecution has proved beyond the reasonable doubt that defendant Kayee was the one who kidnapped the child on the account of eye witness, Betty Nimely’s testimonies and the fact that defendant did not prove his alibi, as to his exact location when the crime was committed.
He immediately handed down a guilty sentence against defendant Kayee to 22 years imprisonment at the Zwedru Correction Palace for kidnapping the 3-year old child, to which ruling the Defense counsel excepted to and announced an appeal to the Honorable Supreme of Liberia, sitting in its march, 2015, term of Court, which exception was noted by the Judge as a matter of right.