Released on bail
Jovanus Oliver Turay, the 16-year-old boy who is accused of using a Taurus G2C 9MM Pistol to shoot to death his female schoolmate, Precious Pearl Ireland, was on Tuesday, May 4 arraigned, along with his mother, Josia M. Saah, before the Monrovia City Court at the Temple of Justice.
Defendant Turay has been charged with negligent homicide, a third degree felony that carries a one-year imprisonment, while his mother, Josia was charged with illegal possession of a firearm.
The Magisterial court is a court of non-record, as well as the court of first instance. Therefore, whether juvenile or not, the Magisterial court will then forward the defendants to the relevant courts. In the case of any probable cause, the Ministry of Justice, through the Solicitor General and County Attorney, as prosecutors, will prepare the indictments, which will determine which court(s) of record the defendants should be sent to.
Turay might either be tried exclusively by the juvenile court, or forwarded to one of the criminal courts, to be tried as an adult, depending on the indictment. If he is to be tried as an adult, the juvenile court, per the Judiciary Law Section 11.2, would have to waive its right to try him.
His mother, however, will be forwarded directly to the criminal court to answer to the charge against her.
The shooting incident occurred on April 13, at the Cyber-Ed Christian School of Excellence, Sophie Road, Congo Town.
Meanwhile, both Turay and his mother Josia were released by the court, after posting an unspecified amounts as bond.
Before securing the bond for the defendants’ release, Turay’s biological father Syluanus Turay, who lives in the United States, had returned from that country in pursuit of the case.
Ahead of the police forwarding Josia and her son to the court, Turay, himself was seen with his legal team, back and forth between the Magistrate chamber and the courtroom, which resulted in the defendants’ immediate release.
Negligent homicide is a third degree felony and carries a one year imprisonment if found guilty.
Negligent homicide occurs when a defendant kills another person while engaging in conduct that they should have known carried risks.
To prove negligent homicide, the prosecution would establish that the defendant(s) knew the risks associated.
According to police charge sheet, Turay, a 10th grade student of the Cyber-Ed-Christian School of Excellence, is a resident of the SKD Boulevard, Paynesvile, where lived with his biological mother Josia M Saah, while his biological father, Syluanus Turay, lived in the United States of America.
The court document further explained that Turay secretly discovered a 9MM Pistol (Taurus G2C) with live rounds from his mother’s bedroom few months back and, on April 13, he decided to take the gun to school.
The document said while the students at the Cyber-Ed Christian School of Excellence were having their breakfast, defendant Turay asked for one of his schoolmates, identified as Matthew P. Gonkerwon, and he was informed that Gonkerwon was in the French classroom, where Turay went and met the victim Precious Ireland and Gonkerwon.
Immediately after defendant Turay arrived in the classroom, he greeted the victim and Gonkerwon and later took his seat.
Few minutes later, the court records claimed that Turay took out the gun from his bookbag and began to play with it and subsequently gave it to Gonkerwon who later played with the gun.
Gonkerwon also passed the gun to the victim, Precious Ireland, who herself played with it and subsequently returned the gun to Turay.
After receiving the gun from Precious, Turay put it on the right side of the chair he was sitting on, while Precious and Gonkerwon were busy listening to music on Gonkerwon’s iPad.
When Turay placed the gun on his right side, Precious advised him (Turay) to remove the gun from where he had placed it be because it was a real gun and not a fake one, and that it could mistakenly hurt anyone of them.
Unfortunately,Turay did not listen to Precious’ advice to remove the gun from the earlier location (right hand side).
Turay later removed the magazine from the gun, but later placed the magazine back in the gun, while the victim Precious and Gonkerwon were still listening to their music.
Surprisingly, the gun discharged and dropped from Turay’s hand on the floor and blood began oozing from Precious’ neck and shoulder.
Later, Turay collected the firearm from the floor and placed it into his bookbag and took his jacket and also placed it around the Precious’ neck while Gonkerwon ran out of the class for fear of his life.
Due to the heavy sound in the school building, teachers, securities, students and administrators got concerned as to what was responsible for the sound.
Few minutes later, while the instructors were still searching for where the sound came from, the school director, Tony Taylor, identified the classroom where he went and saw Precious Ireland slightly bent, unconscious with blood oozing from her neck and right shoulder.
He immediately, took the victim Precious down stairs into the car along with other instructors and they rushed her to the SOS Hospital where she was pronounced “dead upon arrival” by the medical doctors.
Turay, the court records claimed, after noticing the incident, immediately told one of his schoolmates (not named) to collect his book in the adjacent classroom after vigorous search by the school security guards. When the school authorities discovered the firearm, they immediately contacted the Liberia National Police, which responded and subsequently took charge of the scene.