Ondo: Man to die by hanging for killing neighbour —Court rules

An Ondo State High Court sitting in Akure has sentenced to death, a 26yr-old man Abayomi Ayodeji Joseph for hacking a neighbour on the neck and other parts of his body with a machete which led to his death at Ijoka area of Akure.

While delivering the judgement, the trial judge, Justice (Dr) O.S Kuteyi had sentenced the accused person to death by hanging despite his claims of insanity.

“His feeble attempt to raise insanity or insane delusion was only a ploy to cover the face of the Court from seeing the truth of the killing of the deceased on the fateful morning of the 17th March, 2021. The evidence of the Defendant that he ran to a mountain top and saw a pastor who advised him to report his fears to the Chairman of the street is a failed ploy to rely on insane delusion”, the judge held.

According to the police, trouble reared its ugly head between the accused person and the deceased who lived on the same street at light and life area of Ijoka, Akure following an allegation of well water poisoning levelled against the deceased’s daughter by the accused.

Following a heated argument, the accused person was said to have attacked the deceased, a 63 year old bricklayer with a machete and hacked at his neck and other parts of his body with the machete which led to his death.

The accused person was arraigned on a lone count of murder through an information filed before the court by an Assistant Chief Legal Officer, Mrs Omotola Ologun from the Ondo State Ministry of Justice.

The case opened in July, 2022 with the testimony of the deceased’s widow, Oluwole Idowu who declared that the accused person killed her husband, Thomas Oluwole.

She testified further that her husband told her in the morning of his murder that he saw the accused person shouting that he would kill someone and was brandishing his cutlass.

She said that the deceased left the house around 10 am and she later heard a commotion outside about 10 to 15 minutes later while a woman called her outside to see what was going on.

The witness stated that when she came out of the house, she saw the corpse of her deceased husband on the ground and saw that the head of her husband had several injuries while his neck was almost severed from his body.

She explained that the people around told her that it was the Defendant who killed her deceased husband because they heard the defendant shouting that he had killed someone.

According to the widow, members of the Landlord’s Association invited the Police who came and took the body of her late husband to the mortuary while she followed the Police to the mortuary and later returned to the B Division of the Nigerian Police at Oke-Aro Akure.

She added that while at the Police Station, the Police were alerted that the defendant had been caught and that the Police should come to the neighbourhood to arrest him. The witness stated that while she was still at the Police Station, the Defendant was brought by the Police to the station and confessed that he killed the deceased with a stick and a cutlass.

Oluwole also testified that the Police took the Defendant to his house where a cutlass was recovered and that she saw blood on the cutlass.

At the scene where her husband was killed, she stated that she saw a stick, some stones and the deceased shoes.

The police witness, ASP Bayo Adaran testified that the Defendant wrote his statement himself where he confessed to have committed the offence alleged against him which was killing the deceased with a wood but denied using a cutlass to slaughter the deceased.

He said that the defendant claimed that the cutlass used in slaughtering the deceased which was recovered with blood stain belonged to his younger brother.

Adaran stated that the father of the defendant was present when he made his statement and signed it and also told the court how he visited the scene of the crime with the Defendant, the complainant as well as the other members of his team.

He tendered a cutlass in evidence as Exhibit A, a piece of wood broken into two as Exhibits B and B (1) and the statement of the Defendant as Exhibit C. He concluded that at the conclusion of the investigation, the Defendant was charged to Court.

During cross examination the defense counsel, Aderemi Adekile, the witness stated that he visited the mortuary at the General Hospital to see the corpse of the deceased.

He added that his investigation did not support the statement made by the defendant that he was not the only person that attacked the deceased but that people that picked iron as scavengers also joined hands in killing the deceased.

Another police witness, Inspector Afere Olajumoke testified that his team evacuated the corpse from the scene of crime.

He said that they saw the lifeless body of the deceased on the ground, in a pool of blood with a deep cut on the neck. He then took his Infinity Note 4 handset to take the photograph of the deceased on the ground before the body was removed to the University of Medical Sciences at Akure. He stated that at the scene where the body was removed, a long fresh wood was recovered.

He admitted that they did not see the defendant at the crime scene but arrested him at his house.

In his defense, the defendant while testifying in person claimed that he was helping to defend the deceased from the iron scavengers attacking him when he mistakenly hit him with the wood and denied killing the deceased.

He accused the police of arresting him and charging him with the murder of Oluwole after listening to hearsays by the residents who insinuated that he was mentally unstable and was responsible for the murder.

In proving its case, the prosecution put forward three ingredients before the court for determination; that the deceased died, that the death of the deceased resulted from the act of the defendant and that the act of the accused was intentional with knowledge that death or grievous bodily harm was it’s probable consequence.

The trial judge while making allusions to some parts of his statement before the police, accused the HND graduate of concocting lies to hoodwink the court that he did not commit the crime.

In the same breathe, the court revealed that he got caught in his web of lies when he admitted to have confronted the deceased that he did not respond to the allegations of his daughter poisoning the well.

His statement read in part “when he was passing by, I went to him and challenged him that I shouted yesterday and he did not answer me. We engaged in fight, although before that time, I used wood to chase those that were picking iron. When those Hausas left, I started with baba bricklayer because I was angry. I fought with Baba together with iron people. Baba carry stone while I heat (sic)him with stick on the head. I am not the one who cut baba’s head. I am the one who engaged baba in fight.”

The Judge stated that since the accused person had deliberately attacked the deceased by hitting him with wood on his head and cutting his head with cutlass, he cannot be excused from the death he caused to the deceased by his actions.

While holding that the prosecution had proven the case of murder against the accused person beyond reasonable doubt, Justice Kuteyi had then sentenced him to death by hanging. The Hope

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