Several months after Michael Samukai, son of Defense Minister Brownie Samukai, allegedly shot Zardee Andrews in the neck at Tropicana Beach, the victim appeared in Criminal Court ‘A’ yesterday, where he testified as prosecution’s first witness.
Samukai, 37, was indicted last November on serious charges, including attempted murder, aggravated assault and illegal possession of a small arm, which qualify him for bail.
The shooting took place on Tuesday, September 13, 2016, at Tropicana Beach in Thinkers Village, along the ELWA – Robertsfield highway.
At yesterday’s hearing, it was argued that Samukai’s lawyers submitted a request for a change of venue ahead of the case, meaning that they wanted the matter to be transferred to another county, “because of the huge negative reporting” during and after the alleged incident.
They also argued that the negative stories have led to the belief that an impartial trial cannot be held in Monrovia because the jury may have a perceived mindset against their client and that would be prejudicial to his rights in the proceedings.
That argument was yesterday rejected by Judge Roosevelt Willie who later allowed Andrew to take the witness stand.
In his testimony, Andrew said on September 13, the day of the shooting, was the birthday of the defendant’s wife, Mrs. Samukai, and that she and one of her friends, identified as Sando Piarce, decided to go to the Tropicana Beach for entertainment.
While she was at the beach, the prosecution witness alleged that he called Samukai’s wife and wished her a happy birthday and she informed him that her friend Piarce had taken her to the beach for a birthday treat.
A few minutes later, Andrew further alleged that he drove to the beach to meet with Mrs. Samukai and her friend.
“Upon my arrival, I greeted Mrs. Samukai and Piarce and decided to sit with them,” the victim said.
Later, he said, defendant Samukai arrived on the scene and asked him “Do you know that this is my wife?”
“I replied yes, she is just my friend,” he added in response to Samukai’s query.
The defendant again asked, “If she is only your friend, then what are you doing here with her at this time of the night?”
“I again replied and said, ‘I am married. My wife’s picture is in my phone.’”
The prosecution witness claimed that during the exchange, defendant Samukai immediately seized his two phones and walked away, “after which I asked him why are you taking my phones away?”
“He told me to follow him, which I did,” he said.
While attempting to retrieve his phones, Andrew said a fight ensued, and in the process one of the phones was damaged.
“It was during the tussle that Samukai pulled out a black and silver FN-45 American pistol from under his coat and shot me.
“The bullet penetrated my neck and I began to bleed and was assisted by some of my friends and employees of Tropicana Beach who hurriedly took me to the John F. Kennedy Memorial Center, where I was treated,” the state witness further said.
The case continues.