— Sylvanus Turay, father of Cyber-Ed School shooter, expresses contrition
The father of Jovanus Turay, the student who shot his colleague to death on April 13, has openly apologized to the bereaved family for the tragic situation.
Late Precious Ireland met her untimely demise on Tuesday, April 13 from a gunshot fired by student Jovanus Turay, both students of the Cyber-ED Christian School of Excellence located on Sophie Road, Congo-town, Monrovia.
Jovanus’s father, Sylvanus Turay, in a Facebook video condemned his son’s action and pleaded with the victim’s family for forgiveness.
Turay furthered that his family is horrified; heartbroken, and disappointed just like the Ireland’s families who lost their daughter. The suspect’s father who is a career actor, said his family and the Ireland family are very close and his son did not mean to kill Precious.
“Well, I had the privilege to talk to my son. There are two things he said to me: Daddy, please talk to the Irelands for me, and I want you to know that my son regrets the incident and everything that happened,” Turay noted.
“I regret it,” he added, “I want to beg the Ireland family and every parent, child, the school administration, the staff, and students, and I want to apologize for the embarrassment that was caused by us, by my son.”
Turay further expressed that he does not have any problem with people and or the public sentiments surrounding the death of little Precious, especially with his son’s direct involvement, but “My family regrets the situation and extends sympathy to the Ireland family.”
“I am a parent. I know how it is for your child to be killed or die, especially in such a manner. The situation is horrifying and heartbreaking. My family regrets everything that happened,” Mr. Turay said.
In a tearful tone, Turay narrated that the victim was like a daughter to him and as such, he deeply regrets the incident that led to her death.
“I want people to understand that I did not get to know the late Precious from my son’s school. I got to know her from her family, and I want to express my regret over the incident and to make people understand that I’m a father and the late Precious was like a daughter to me. Every child of the Irelands, including Daniel, Aaron, Nathaniel, Hannah they are like my own.”
Victim’s family: charge suspect as adult
Earlier, the family of late Precious demanded that the Liberia National Police charge Jovanus as an adult instead of a juvenile.
“We are not making a conclusion at the moment because we obviously know that the act was untimely,” said Atty. Maxwell Grisby, an uncle of the deceased. “Such gruesome killing will not go unpunished, but I don’t how that will happen. So we will give all of our full support to this case.”
“All we want to inform the public is that we cannot make hasty conclusions. The person at age 16 to a greater extent can be determined to have the capacity by a competent court of jurisdiction and where that happens, the law will provide such and can be prosecuted just as an adult,” Grisby added.
However, for the victim’s family’s wish to become reality, the prosecution team has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the suspect premeditated the shooting and that he has been in the constant habit of using a gun as a ground to try him as an adult.
Jovanus, an avid freestyle rapper, is seen in several photos making hand gestures as if he were operating a gun—a position, which the prosecution team could argue as a basis to have his trial as an adult. In other photos, he is seen holding a riffle, suggesting his hands-on experience in handling firearms.
Even though the suspect is 16 and a juvenile, and eligible for a court trial, the suspect can only be charged as an adult if a judicial waiver occurs for criminal proceedings. This happens when a juvenile court judge thinks that the act committed could be considered a crime committed by an adult.
Before the court makes such a decision, it has to take into consideration “The best interest of the child” under its jurisdiction, which means that a balance has to be found between juvenile well-being and the actual application of the law.
Section 11.21 Judiciary Law of Liberia stated that “That if a juvenile sixteen years of age or older is charged with a lesser offence, which would be a felony if committed by a person over the age of eighteen years, the juvenile court, if it concludes after a full investigation that it is in the best interest of such juvenile or of the public, may in its discretion waive its jurisdiction and certify such juvenile for proper criminal proceedings to any court which would have trial jurisdiction of such offence if it were committed by a person over the age of eighteen years.”
‘Victim’s father like a brother to me’
Meanwhile, Turay has disclosed that Dr. Philip Z. Ireland, father of the victim, is like a brother to him, and Rita the mother, also like a sister to him.
Turay, therefore, is urging the public to stop saying things that they do not know, even though their interest in the case is appreciated. “I don’t blame people for what they are saying. You know they are so angry because some of them do not know and are carried away because of the death of a child.”
“Now it has become a public sentiment that they are saying all kinds of things, but I understand the people’s concern because of what happened,” Turay said. “I understand that Precious means a lot to all of us and I regret everything that happened. I want to say a big sorry to the Ireland family and everybody connected to them. All of us regret the situation.”
Cyber-Ed School provides conselors
Meanwhile, Cyber-Ed Christian School of Excellence has announced that it has arranged for professional counselors to guide the students through their experience with this terrible event and the grieving process.
“Good Evening CCS Parents. Words cannot express our appreciation for the kindness and support that you all have shown to the Irelands and CCS. We thank God for you.
“Counselors will be available to speak with students in the fifth grade and above from 2pm to 4pm tomorrow (Friday, April 16) at the school. Counseling will be available for all students interested beginning next week. More details to follow,” the school said in a statement.