A newly-released police charge sheet obtained by the Daily Observer reveals that officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) allegedly tampered with the investigative report surrounding the death of Steve Paul.
The police investigative report that brought a “negligent homicide” charge against Solomon Badio, 44, in connection with the November 8, 2018 homicide of Steve Paul at the Camp Johnson Road Community in Monrovia, raises even more questions about what happened on the day Paul died.
The trial of Badio has been suppressed for months due to “contradictions” in the police’s report, with Montserrado County Attorney Edwin Martin requesting for a new investigative report to amend the crime against Badio from “negligent homicide” to murder, following a new discovery in the testimonies of eyewitnesses.
Steve Paul died when Badio, on November 8, 2018, struck him in the chest with his fist while in Steve’s office on Camp Johnson Road.
Badio has been charged with “negligent homicide” for causing the death of Steve Paul after having tussled with Mr. Paul, which led him to later collapse in his office on November 8.
The rare move to restart the investigation came in part after family members of the late Paul rejected the police’s investigative report following a glaring omission of statements from eyewitnesses when the case was first investigated.
The second report contradicts two other witnesses’ statements to police about what happened on November 8, 2018, which is not mentioned anywhere in the investigative report.
In the first investigation, police claimed that the late Steve Paul “prevented Badio’s access to his (Paul’s) office, because he (Badio) reportedly stole a part from his computer that resulted to the argument between the two men.”
That argument, police said, intensified and later degenerated into a fistfight, during which time the victim reacted to suspect Badio’s attack on his body.
In retaliation to Paul’s reaction, the police said Badio struck him with a blow to the chest.
In this process, according to the police, Paul took his key holder from his pocket with a penknife on it and struck suspect Badio on his neck with the said object which caused abrasion. Immediately afterwards, Badio left the scene, and Paul reportedly felt thirsty and requested for water, but instead had a cup of coffee. It was after drinking the coffee, the police said, the deceased fell off in his office but was later taken to the SD Cooper Hospital, where he was pronounced dead by medical practitioners while undergoing treatment.
“In view of the foregoing facts and circumstances, coupled with the medical report obtained from the SD Cooper Hospital as well as witnesses’ testimonies, the investigation has resolved to charge Badio with negligent homicide,” the police report said.
The new details do not completely fill in the gaps. Police’s statement about the late Paul firstly slapping suspect Badio appears to contradict how police charged Badio with “negligent homicide.”
And the fact that police failed to charge Badio with manslaughter or murder due to what happened only leaves the family with more questions, thereby increasing their grief.
In witness Jida Sayee’s statement to police, she said as soon as Badio entered the late Paul’s office, confusion broke out between the two of them.
She reportedly told the police how she saw Badio hitting Paul in his chest right in her presence.
Madam Sayee said they tried to stop Badio, but he could not listen, “instead he hit Uncle Steve for the second time.”
“While Uncle Steve was trying to protect himself from Badio’s further attacks, his nail scratched Badio, but when Badio noticed the mark, he got so annoyed that he tried to attack Uncle Steve again. Even other people tried stopping Badio, but he did not listen to the extent that he slapped a lady [unnamed],” Madam Sayee said.
Afterwards, Steve fell off (collapsed unconscious) and was rushed to the SD Cooper Hospital from where he was pronounced dead, according to Madam Sayee.
Another witness, Ruth Freeman, said on November 8, 2018, she saw suspect Badio running upstairs in Paul’s office. He passed her and went into the apartment where Paul was at the time, and loud noise could be heard from the apartment.
While Badio was yelling, she said, Paul came from his room to see what the noise was about. Later, she said, he (Paul) was followed by his wife, who was trying to calm him down, but Badio’s anger was too much.
“Badio ran to Paul in a few minutes and hit him in the chest, while his [Paul’s] wife was trying to stop him; he turned around and slapped her too,” Madam Freeman said.
According to her, they tried to stop Badio, but he did not listen and follow Paul downstairs.
“Later, we brought Paul upstairs, and he went into his apartment where he fainted,” Ruth said.
But, according to other eyewitnesses who were downstairs, Badio hit Paul with his fist.
Negligent homicide is the killing of another person through gross negligence or without malice. It often includes death that is the result of the negligent operation of a motor vehicle.
It is characterized as a death caused by conduct that grossly deviated from ordinary care. Negligent homicide may be charged as a lesser offense than manslaughter. Manslaughter, however, involves the intentional killing of another person in a heated moment and could result in significant jail time.