— Rev. Bowier
Former Information Minister, Emmanuel Bowier has told a news conference in Monrovia that officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) are aware of the person “who killed Steve Paul in November last year. I have the evidence, and I am ready to prove my case, because I will not rest until Steve gets justice.”
Bowier, also a Methodist preacher, said he was physically present when the wife of Solomon Badio, Steve’s suspected killer, informed police investigation that Badio punched Steve several times in his chest, while she tried to stop her husband from getting into trouble by beating on the man, but he continued punching Steve until he collapsed.
“What annoyed me in the entire Steve murder saga at the police headquarters is that, following Ms. Marcia Watkins’ (Badio’s wife) explanation, the police thereafter gave different narrative, but I will pursue justice until police can produce the original statement, which remained missing, Rev. Bowier said.
Though the police is yet to respond to his allegation as calls and text messages sent by the Daily Observer to the LNP spokesperson remained unanswered, Bowier said he discovered that the original testaments from Ms. Watkins and other eyewitnesses have gone missing at the police headquarters… “which to me was a cro-cro-gee, meaning the police was more interested in taking bribe from the bereaved family than investigating the case as murder.”
Bowier, who identified himself as the family spokesman for the bereaved, said at one point, “I informed the police that I was going to take over the case as the family spokesperson. I need to find justice in the case, so I told the police that I will also take over the headquarters, and they should tell President George Weah that I am capable of taking over the police, because the police needs help.”
He dismissed the initial police charge of “Negligent Homicide”, levied against Badio because, according to Bowier, Badio premeditated on killing Steve. This is why he walked to his house with such an intent, which act the suspect committed in the full view of onlookers.
It can be recalled that the family of the late Steve Paul are expressing frustrations, and are therefore demanding the release of a medical report that police claimed was conducted on the body of the deceased, regarding the cause of his death, prepared by Dr. Blojay of the SDA Cooper Hospital, dated November 8, 2018.
The family is of the strong conviction that Steve died when suspect Solomon Badio, on November 8, 2018, struck him several times in the chest with his fist while in Steve’s office on Camp Johnson Road, which police initial report charged him with “Negligent Homicide.”
The Police charge sheet, dated November 15, 2018, copy of which is in the possession of the Daily Observer, said the Police obtained medical certificates of cause of death from the SDA Cooper Hospital, under the signature of Dr. Blojay with Medical Board #765, indicating that the victim died as a result of Cardiac Respiratory (heart) Arrest, and there was no other significant condition contributing to the death.
Also, the family said that the police initially deceived them when they claimed to have obtained a medical report from Dr. Blojay, which was far from the truth, because the doctor did not give the police any medical report regarding the death of Steve.
The report noted, “Having carefully listened to witnesses’ testimonies, defendants’ statement, and a background conducted with medical record, this investigation hereby recommended court proceedings into this matter on the charge of Negligent Homicide.”
However, a family member who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they want the police to release the medical and coroner reports immediately to them.
Coroners are independent judicial officers, who investigate deaths reported to them, a medical experts told the Daily Observer. “They will make whatever inquiries are necessary to find out the cause of death, this includes ordering a post-mortem examination, obtaining witnesses’ statements and medical records, or holding an inquest,” the expert noted.
According to the expert, the coroner first gathers information to investigate whether a death was due to natural causes, as well as if a doctor can certify the medical cause of death. Against that, the coroner will ask the police to gather the information about the death.
“This will usually include speaking to the family of the deceased; anyone who was caring for the deceased and anyone, who was there when the death happened.” If a Coroner is satisfied that Steve died of natural causes, and no further investigation is necessary, then they may accept the medical cause of death that a doctor gave, and issued a Coroner’s notification to allow the death to be registered, the medical practitioner explained. If a doctor cannot certify the medical cause of death of the Late Steve, then a Coroner will investigate the cause of death, and may order a post-mortem examination, according to the expert.
The family source said they demand a “full, independent and transparent investigation. We need to see evidence, because my brother was murdered, and Police should not have charged Badio with negligent homicide, but murder,” said a family source.
The source claimed that Badio killed Steve “without any cause or provocation.” The Police report, however, provides an entirely different account. Besides, witnesses’ statement also contradicted account of the Police investigative report.
The Police accounts claimed that late Paul was the first to strike suspect Badio. “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,” the Police said in its investigative report.
However, one of the witnesses, Jida Sayee’s statement to police confirmed how Badio started the fight by hitting Steve.
She added, “While Uncle Steve was trying to protect himself from Badio’s advancing 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 him, but he did not listen to the extent that he slapped his wife, shoved the lady who came with his wife and also shoved me, while Badio was running downstairs in search of Steve for a second fight.”
Another eye witness, Ruth Freeman, said on November 8, 2018, she saw, “Badio ran to Paul in a few minutes and hit him in the chest, while his [Badio’s] wife was trying to stop him; he turned around and slapped her too.” She also confirmed that it was Badio, who started fighting Steve shortly after he entered Steve’s office to the amazement of onlookers.
Ruth Freeman’s statement also contradicted the Police Report. She added that Badio entered Steve’s office yelling with a loud noise and when Steve came out of his office room to see who was causing noise in the building, Badio ran to Steve and hit him in his chest. Hanna Massaquoi, an eye witness who watched the fight downstairs confirmed, it was Badio who started the second fight downstairs.