Court Finds LNP Officer Guilty of Murder

Convicted police officer Sansee Kowo

The Second Judicial Circuit Court in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County has handed down a guilty verdict on a former deputy police commander of Ganta in Nimba County for murder. 

The former deputy commander, Sansee Kowo, got into a tussle with a motorcyclist near the Jackie Guest House in March 2019, which resulted in the death of the motorcyclist, identified as Samuel Selleh.

The incident brought Ganta to a standstill when the motorcyclists attempted burning down the police station in retaliation for the death of their colleague.

Officer Kowo was immediately disrobed from the police force, charged with murder and sent to the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court for trial. However, the defendant requested for transfer of the case to the Second Judicial Circuit Court for fear of any reprisal from the motorcyclists or family members of the deceased.

In his verdict, delivered on Tuesday, October 12, Judge Joe S. Barkon found Deputy Police Commander Sensee Kowo and his Co-defendant Rancy Dolo guilty of flogging to death Samuel Selleh, a 32-year-old resident of Ganta, Nimba, in March 2019.

Sansee Kowo was charged with murder, while, his Co-defendant Rancy Dolo, a private security officer, was also charged with Criminal Facilitation.

But, according to News Public Trust reporter Garmah Lomo, the court in its ruling said Co-defendant Dolo might be freed if he has spent more time in jail than the crime charged.

However, the court has instructed the probation office of Grand Bassa County to investigate the characters of the convicts prior to their sentence hearing, which is slated for Monday, October 19, after which their sentencing will be subsequently done. 

Deputy Commander Kowo was indicted by the Grand Jury of Nimba County for the crime of murder during the February 2020 term of Court. 

But the case was transferred from the 8th Judicial Circuit in Nimba County to the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court in Grand Bassa County on a change of venue motion prayed for by the defendant on ground that he wouldn’t get fair trial due to public sentiment.

The defendant is being represented in court by a legal team headed by Cllr. Arthur T. Johnson, while the deceased is being represented by the state. 

The 2nd Judicial Circuit Court heard final arguments in the matter last Friday, October 8, after the case had gone on for about a month.

Both the state and defense lawyers were told to send their legal memoranda on or before Wednesday October 6, 2021, for final arguments in the matter.

When the case was called, the defendant pleaded not guilty to his alleged murder charge, thereby joining issue with the state. 

The trial, which was a bench trial, commenced on Tuesday September 21,2021 at the Buchanan Court, with state prosecutors producing two witnesses on the same day after he pleaded not guilty, thereby joining the issue with the state.

The incident happened in early March 2019, when Sansee Kowo was contacted by officers of a private security firm owned by him, that some young boys were embarrassing their guard post, which was not far from where the incident occurred.

Accordingly, when he arrived on the scene, he got into a fight with Samuel Selleh the motorcyclist, choking him on his neck. Selleh died instantly. 

But, Sansee Kowo, in his argument at the time, admitted to choking Selleh, but said the young man died as a result of stone thrown by one of the other motorcyclist friends of the deceased.

Sansee Kowo served as deputy police of Ganta Detail for several years, after being transferred from Kakata, Margibi County.

But, some of his police colleagues said he was assigned to Nimba County, initially as driver to the county commander. After the deputy commander for the Ganta Detail at the time was transferred to Yekepa as commander, Sansee replaced him as deputy commander.