Steve Paul, 59, knocked unconscious, never recovered; perpetrator charged with ‘negligent homicide’; family demands justice
The family of a 59 -year-old man, who was allegedly beaten to death on November 8, 2018 by suspect Solomon Badio, is outraged about the apparent authorization by authorities of the Liberian National Police (LNP) to the Samuel A. Stryker Funeral Service to release the body without any member of the family being consulted.
The family has resolved not to comment on the matter pending thorough discussion when they were contacted on Tuesday, September 24, 2019, shortly after the Daily Observer obtained a copy of the letter.
The late Steve Paul, according to police investigation, died on November 8 last year at the Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) Cooper Hospital following a fist fight with suspect Badio shortly after argument ensued between the two over a laptop keyboard.
In the aftermath of the argument, the police said Badio struck Mr. Paul with with a blow to the chest, causing the victim to go unconscious. Mr. Paul did not regain consciousness until he died.
Later, the police charged Badio with “Negligent Homicide,” and subsequently forwarded him to the Monrovia City Court for prosecution. However, Badio’s lawyer secured his bond, which prevented him from going to jail, because the crime, which charge the family had resisted, qualifies a person for a bail.
While the family is waiting for the trial of the case, the police have now written the Samuel A. Stryker Funeral Services to release the body to the family, a police document in the possession of this newspaper reveals.
The letter under the signature of Police Inspector Abu B. Daramy, dated September 19, 2019, entitled: “Authorization for Release of Body” and addressed to the Administration of the Samuel A. Stryker Funeral Services.”
The letter reads: “The body of the late Steve Paul was deposited at your funeral home by his family members for preservation after he was pronounced dead at the SD Cooper medical Hospital, subsequent to a fight that ensued at Camp Johnson Road on November 8, 2019, pending the conduct of a post mortem examination by Montserrado County Coroner.”
It continues, “The bereaved family has however expressed their desire in undertaking a funeral arrangements of their deceased relative, which was granted by police authority.”
It further says, “In view thereof, we do hereby request that you kindly release his mortal remains to Alphonso B. Csaliyah, brother of the deceased on behalf of the family.”
“This document shall constitute your legal and sufficient authority,” the letter concluded.
A source close to the family also confided with the Daily Observer that the action by the police followed persistent requests from the family to the Police High Command, and subsequently to the Inspector-General Patrick Sudue, but up to press time last night, it was not clear as to whether IG Sudue has reacted to the communication from his under man, and or requested the presence of the suspect, who the bereaved family claimed had remained ‘a free man.’
“What kind of justice is this?” the source rhetorically wondered. “Why will the police charge a person and since then, there has been no court hearing, and they have secretly communicated with the funeral services to release the body to us?” the family said.
They therefore noted, “We demand justice before removing the body of our late brother. Why will Badio be walking around freely, and the police is forcing us to take the remains of our brother? that will never happen,” the source declared.
The source, who did not say what would be the next course of action by the family, however added, “We are waiting for the family meeting to come up with any definite action,” the source said.
Also, a medical report from the SD Hospital in the possession of the Daily Observer signed by Dr. Whyllah B. Blojay (MD), attributed the cause of Paul’s death to “Cardio-Pulmonary Arrest (background of domestic violence.”)
Details of the report say that Paul was rushed at the hospital emergency unit at the hour of 11:22 a.m. on account of a “sudden collapse as the result of a fight between Steve Paul, and an unnamed individual, who hit Paul several times in his chest and in his office,” according to eyewitnesses and the patient’s brother, Alphonso B. Csaliyah.
“However, patient was brought in gasping for air; difficulty breathing with unreadable vital signs both digital and manual vital sign devices,” the medical report said.
During physical examination, Doctor Blojay said the patient was “unconscious, dyspneic with his hand held tightly to his chest lying on his right lateral chest wall. Patient was immediately transferred to the ward for oxygen therapy and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation for which, despite all efforts patient died at 11:30 a.m.
However, Dr. Blojay said that the patient has never been treated at this “facility for any form of preexisting condition/ailment, and so there was no history of any pre-existing condition.”