By Abednego Davis
The 13th Judicial Circuit Court in Kakata, Margibi County yesterday sentenced three of the ten armed men that attacked the Ecobank-Liberia branch in Kakata to ten and five-year terms of imprisonment.
Co-defendant Samuel N. Davis was sentenced to ten years, while co-defendants Alex Yarkpawulo and Abraham Doe received five years each.
They were charged with criminal conspiracy and armed robbery.
Sentencing the three yesterday in Margibi County, Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay declared that “based on the fact as established during the trial and the applicable law, we have no alternative but to affirm the unanimous guilty verdict of the jury.
“Co-defendant Samuel N. Davis being the ringleader is hereby sentenced to an imprisonment for a period of ten years effective today’s date (June 13, 2017), while co-defendants Alex Yarkpawulo and Abraham Doe are sentenced to five years each.”
Before yesterday’s sentence, prosecution said one of the defendants, Dennis Dioh, had died in prison during pre-trial detention.
Initially, Davis, Yarkpawulo and Doe pleaded guilty to the commission of the crimes when the indictment was read to them.
However, because armed robbery is a criminal offense, their respective guilty pleas were set aside by the court, which entered a not guilty plea on their behalf, shifting the burden of proof on the state.
They also waived the production of evidence on their behalf.
The court document alleged that last year, the three along with other suspects, including the gang’s ringleader, only identified as Akin, a Nigerian national, were reportedly armed with a single barrel gun and other deadly weapons, and shot at police officers, who returned fire on the attackers.
The shootout, the record claimed, resulted in Akin’s death.
The incident with LNP officers also left Davis, Yarkpawulo, Doe and Dioh (now deceased) wounded.
The robbers, according to police, entered the bank by cutting the bars of one of the windows near the generator room using an oxygen tank and a saw blade.
Akin, according to the record, was on a police wanted list for several months for his alleged involvement in several armed robberies on banking institutions in Monrovia and its environs.
In line with their plan, the robbers damaged the bank’s Close Circuit Television (CCTV) camera, and the automated teller machine (ATM) server.
Meanwhile, the other five members of the group are still at large.