‘Even at the Verge of Getting Justice, We Were Denied’

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"All I have to say to the perpetrator: you will never find peace because you took my peace away from me," Mrs. Cynthia R. Sherman said at her daughter's interment on Friday, August 30.

At late Odell Sherman’s funeral, mother warns perpetrator: “you will never find peace because you took my peace away from me…”

Mrs. Cynthia Rivercess Sherman, the mother of the late Odell Sherman, said the government of Liberia (GOL) has denied her family justice in the murder case of their daughter.

In tears of sorrow on Friday, August 30, 2019, Mrs. Sherman told the audience who gathered to celebrate the home going Odell, at the St. Moses Funeral Parlor along the Somalia Drive that after the burial of her only daughter, she will not rest until she brings to book the perpetrator.

Odell Sherman, a senior high school student of the Harriett Bailey United Methodist School, was discovered unconscious in the home of Reverend Emmanuel Giddings in Duazohn, Margibi County during the early morning hours of Tuesday, May 22, 2019, following the completion of her West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). When Rev. Giddings took her to the ELWA Hospital, she was pronounced dead on arrival, a medical report from the hospital said.

“We were denied every aspect of getting justice. Even at the verge of getting justice, we were still denied. All I have to say to the perpetrator: you will never find peace because you took my peace away from me,” Mrs. Sherman said.

She said “Odell was my existing photocopy; inasmuch you took her from me, everything that you worked for will never succeed, anything your hand touches shall all die….”

 “I will never give up on my God” Mrs. Sherman said, “for I know that this is the time of trial. And after these troubled days and dark hours is a great testimony for me. Yes, I know that it is painful but God still there for me.”

Mrs. Sherman said there will come a time that she will surely ensure justice for her daughter because “I will never give up on your case.”

She said there is a need for her to understand the unexplained circumstances of her daughter’s death, if not for the current government, then for the next government.

Mrs. Sherman said there are many people who have lost their beloved relatives and girls who have been raped but cannot justice because of a ‘corrupt system.’

“People always say that the reason why rape victims cannot get justice is that their cases are not reported. But this case was reported; there is no investigation, no crime scene photo, no suspects and police charge sheet… what kind of Liberia is this? Where are we heading to?” she questioned the justice system.

Mrs. Sherman’s struggle with Odell 

Mrs. Sherman said she carried Odell in her womb for eleven months. This included one week of severe labor pain, without eating or drinking, after which she had to struggle during the heat of the of the Liberian civil war with a child born in the village.

“After eight years, of struggle with my daughter, I had to go back to school and my daughter needed to get in school…can you image, a mother and daughter in the same school together in SDA school Buchanan. As soon as the bell rings for recess, Odell would run to my class and my friends will mock me by saying, ‘Cynthia, we do not have baby ma in this class so please ask your daughter out’,” she said.

Mrs. Sherman said, “Yes! I would leave the class and get out to take care of my daughter because I knew that she was my future light and needed a brighter future, I also understood that she was a girl child and only education could help her.”

She said her husband had to work as a security guard in order to feed their family. And while people took it as a disgrace, she  took it as a challenge to make her daughter have a brighter future.

Mrs. Sherman said after her graduation from high school, she had an opportunity for a good job. However, she needed to chose between the job and going back to school.

“Here is Odell lying down… with all of the struggles, just one person has frustrated my effort,” she said. “Odell’s death has created a vacuum in my heart that only God can fill.”

Mrs. Sherman said she carried Odell in her womb for eleven months, including one week of severe labor pain. (Photo: Muna Traub)

Alphonso O. Sherman, father of the late Odell, said his family will take issue with both the ELWA hospital and Rev. Giddings are held accountable for Odell’s death in the next government, because he is not sure of receiving justice under the President George Manneh Weah administration.

Mr. Sherman said it is sad to see that the person on whose property the remains of Odell was found is still moving around Monrovia without due process.

He said the police keeps protecting the Giddings family because they are well connected but, “there is a God of justice who sees everybody equally.”

The funeral was graced by Representative Rosana G. D. Schaack, Rivercess County District #2 and the chairperson of the Female Legislative Caucus; the March for Justice; Seekers of Justice, the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY); the Mano River Union Youth Parliament-Liberia Chapter (MRUYP-LC); the Paramount Young Women Initiative (PAYOWI), the #WeAreUnprotected Campaign; and the Liberia National Student Union (LINSU). They vowed to stand with the Sherman family to get justice.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Rest in peace Odell, God is the judge, the true story will one day be brought to light. To the family, keep the faith and be strong, God will fight your battle.

  2. Ummmmmm! So-call “Men of God”, they publicly declare they know God, however; they are light years away from his creeds. These are the same one forcing their doctrines of religious ZEALOUSLY into our senate and legislative chambers. Trying to turn that house into the Echo Chamber of Religious Bigotry.

    Are they ( So-call Men of God), doing the right thing. Liberia is slowly becoming like Saudi Arabia—one has to be part of certain religious group to get a ‘free pass’, even in the face of wrong doing.

    I m wondering if that reverend was a Muslin Imam, how would the people react?
    Better yet still 1990.

    Rest In Peace Odell.

  3. One heart-rending question in this case remains: Why didn’t the president intervene knowing its sensitive nature and the potential it had for garnering a widespread public outrage?

    The prevailing belief in Liberia is that Law has become the direct expression of the imperial might of the George Weah’s cartel. And as long as he is in power, under no condition would the suffering masses expect justice and equal protection under the law.

    My use of the phrase the “George Weah’s cartel” stems from the fact that Liberians are accustomed to the acronym, “GOL” which stands for Government of Liberia instead of a cartel. But yet still the informed public is fully aware that GOL is a misleading phraseology.

    Weah is the law giver and the sole distributor of justice. What he says is final. For example: The president stated just a few weeks ago that none of the Urey’s family members will ever hold an elective post in Liberia under his watch. What happened next? His party faithful attacked Mr. Urey’s daughter, Telia, wounded her and several others. What has been the repercussion? The president has done nothing to address these kinds of events, that have the potential for derailing peace.

    The acronym GOL is nothing but a misnomer coined to misguide the public that we do have a government in Liberia, which leader has the duly constituted authority and has sworn to protect the lives and properties of the citizens and enforce the laws of the Republic.

    On the contrary, what Liberians are clearly witnessing today, is the insurgence of a criminal cartel – a well-organized and entrenched crime group that is pocketing the proceeds from the sales of the nation’s resources, impoverishing the underprivileged class, and leaving it for dead.

    Crime is rife in Liberia because the leaders have lost the moral will to combat it. How can the president rein the thugs when they are the ones, who are responsible for doing the dirty deeds of the cartel and the ruling CDC party?

    You are deeply in my prayers Mrs. Sherman.

  4. Mrs. Sherman: I pour my heart to you for the irreparable loss of your precious daughter, Ms. Odell Sherman. No words can fathom the griefs and pains that you bear. Please continue to take counsel and solace in the Lord because only he can carry you through these difficult times.

    I do not know you personally Mrs. Sherman, but I grief with you as a mother and in the spirit of the Liberian tradition — a tradition of sympathizing with others in their time of sorrows even if they were not members of your family or clan or tribe.

    The hearts of those killers are hardened like steel, their hands are filled with blood, and the dark impulses flow through their veins. But O, the omniscient God sees all things. His time is not man’s time. In due season, they will reap what they have sowed.

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