Family members of the late Chief Inspector Amos Tutu of the Police Support Unit (PSU) of the Liberia National Police (LNP) left the courtroom of Criminal Court ‘A’ on Monday, October 19, disappointed after two of the three suspects tried for the murder of the officer, were set free by the jury.
The jury dropped the charge of murder against two of the three defendants, Aaron Lackay and Nicholas Wleh, “because we noticed that government’s lawyers throughout the trial could not provide sufficient evidence to convince us to bring a guilty verdict against the two accused persons.”
The jury’s unanimous non-guilty verdict came immediately after they returned from their room where they spent hours, deliberating on the merit and demerit of the case.
“We, the jury of Criminal Court ‘A’ unanimously agreed that defendants Aaron Lackay and Nicholas Wleh are not guilty of the crime of murder brought against them by the government,” the jury said.
Immediately after the jury’s decision, there was jubilation on the other side of the courtroom where family members of the defendants were seated, while family members of the late Tutu were crying on the other side.
Besides jubilation and tears in the courtroom, the defendants were seen in the courtroom taking off their orange prison suits, signifying that they were now free from their detention.
With that verdict, Judge Blamo Dixon will take five days to accept the jury’s non-guilty verdict since the prosecutor has already rejected the verdict.
When the defendants were brought before the jurisdiction of the court, one of them, Kwame Akakpo died at the Monrovia Central Prison, while serving his four years pre-trial detention.
The defendants were indicted in 2010 after they were accused of spilling half gallon of gasoline on the body on Inspector Amos Tutu and setting him ablaze. He was pronounced dead by medical doctors at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital, upon arrival on February 27, 2010.
When the case was first assigned for hearing on August 12, 2015, the defendants pleaded not guilty, when their indictment was read.
The incident took place as a result of an argument and fist fight between the late Chief Inspector Tutu and one Preston Davis, a former officer of the LNP, over rental fees from a room that Davis promised to give to Tutu.
After the fist fight, Tutu allegedly shot Davis in the chest, leading to his death.
Afterward another officer (of the Armed Forces of Liberia) identified as Patrick Davis decided to disarm Chief Inspector Tutu.
It was during the tussle over the gun that a group of angry mob wasted the gasoline over the two officers, which resulted to the deaths of Tutu and Patrick Davis.
Inspector Tutu died on the spot while Patrick Davis died few days after the incident.