Precious Ireland Takes Final Rest Today

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The casket bearing the mortal remains of Precious Ireland

— As family members are yet to receive LNP final investigation report

Precious Ireland, 14, the student who was shot dead with a 9-millimeter pistol by her colleague, Jovanus Oliver Turay at the Cyber-Ed Christian School of Excellence in Sophie Community, Congo Town, will be interred today, Friday, April 30, 2021, following funeral rites.

The funeral is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. at the Harvest Intercontinental Cathedral Church of Liberia (formerly Bethel Cathedral of Hope). 

Much to the consternation of the Ireland family and others who knew and loved Precious, the funeral is being held in the absence of the final report of the Liberia National Police investigation, even though sources suggest that the investigation was concluded more than a week ago.

However, Justice Minister Musa Dean told the Daily Observer yesterday that while the funeral will take place today, he has not yet seen the report from the investigation; therefore, as far as he is concerned, the investigation is still ongoing. 

Meanwhile, the Liberia National Police released the crime scene (the room where Precious met her demise) to the Cyber-Ed School administration and the school was given the green light to re-open for students to resume classes on April 26, 2021.

According to school officials, Cyber-Ed will be closed today, Friday, April 30, to enable students, parents and faculty to attend the funeral. The school observed a half-day the previous day to enable them to attend the night of wake-keeping, also held at Harvest Intercontinental Church on Thursday evening. 

Burning questions

Burning questions still linger, in the absence of the report from the investigation. 

It remains unclear how and from where Jovanus Turay obtained the fire-arm, whether owned by his parent(s) or someone somewhere outside of the home. Turay, an avid freestyle rapper, is seen in a Facebook photo handling a single barrel rifle, which suggests that he has some experience with operating firearms. 

Another burning follows, who exposed Jovanus to firearms? Was it his father, mother, his mother’s boyfriend, or someone outside of the family? 

Another Facebook photo shows Turay and Precious Ireland in a side hug, suggesting that they might have been somewhat close friends, perhaps close enough for him to confide in her details related to how he obtained a firearm.

A floral design on display in memory of the late Precious Ireland

And while Jovanus’ mother, Joan Saah, told investigators that the homicide weapon belonged to Lauvette A. Williams, Sr., her deceased consort, who was a customs broker, the family of the late Mr. Williams has denied that the man ever owned a gun. 

In a statement signed by Hester Williams and Shirley Williams Awadje, the Williams family unequivocally denied the allegation, stressing that the deceased was a law-abiding and peace-loving man who spent his entire life serving humanity in his church (The Little White Chapel).

“At no time did Lauvette own or purchase a gun, because he was deeply loved by all who knew him. More importantly, Lauvette died on Feb. 24, 2018. This is more than three years ago. Ms. Saah has since moved out of the house where both of them lived.  All of Lauvette’s Personal belongings remained in her possession. Ms. Saah has full responsibility for all of them,” the family’s statement said.

The statement continued, “Assuming without admitting that the gun belonged to Lauvette, Ms. Saah, upon Lauvette’s demise, assumed responsibility for all of his personal belongings and should therefore be stopped from dragging a deceased man’s name into a matter that he has no knowledge of.” 

The police has yet to tell the public whether Joan Saah’s statement can be deemed authentic. 

The police investigation into the death of Precious Ireland, if handled well, will also reveal, among other things, whether Jovanus Oliver Turay intentionally killed Precious Ireland or whether he shot her by mistake. The outcome of the investigation will also determine whether the case would be regarded as manslaughter or murder. And depending on the revelations from the investigation, Turay may or may not be tried as an adult. 

“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, days after the incident took place. “Such gruesome killing will not go unpunished, but I don’t know 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. 

The late Precious Ireland is the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Philip Ireland. Dr. Ireland, a physician at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital, is a survivor of the deadly Ebola virus that rocked Liberia in 2014.

Precious Ireland met her untimely death on Tuesday, April 13, from a handgun fired by student Jovanus Turay, while both students were sitting alone in a classroom at their school, the Cyber-ED Christian School of Excellence located on Sophie Road, Congo-town, Monrovia. According to the report, she was shot twice.

Meanwhile, the shooter’s father, Sylvanus Turay, in a Facebook video last week 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 an actor and filmmaker, said his family and the Ireland family are very close and his son did not mean to kill Precious.

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