Lawyers representing defendants Jonathan Williams and others charged with murder and hindering law enforcement have suffered major setback with the denial of two of their motions for separate trial and change of venue of the case.
Defense lawyers on Friday, August 31, filed a motion for separate trial and another for change of venue, indicating that the defendant is a law-abiding citizen, and therefore needs to be tried separately, and that the case should be tried in Gbarpolu County outside Monrovia, to enable the defendant be tried in a free and fair manner.
Defense lawyers also indicated that the media, both electronic and print, have framed differently the crime the defendant was charged with, which the defendant sees as not good for him to be tried in Montserrado County, but rather in Gbarpolu County.
But prosecution lawyers resisted the request, saying that the crime committed by the defendant is a first degree felony as the defendant took the life of a human being, and must therefore be tried where the crime was committed, and asked the court to deny the defendant’s motion to be tried in Gbarpolu County.
Judge Roosevelt Z. Willie denied the two motions filed by defense lawyers on grounds that there is no evidence shown, and there are no newspapers or recordings presented before the court indicating public sentiments in the case.
He said whenever a crime is committed it is normal that the press will report it so that should not be grounds for separate trial and change of venue, adding that as for separate trial, Criminal Court “A’’ is where the murder case is being tried, and cannot separate this trial but rather jointly conduct it.
It can be recalled that William allegedly stabbed journalist Tyron Brown with a green handle knife.
Five others were charged and forward to court on charges of murder and hindering law enforcement.
The lifeless body of Brown was discovered during the early morning hours of April 16 in the Kingdom Care Community on Duport Road, with physical injuries.
According to the Liberia National Police, the murder suspect was arrested following a tip-off from a member of the community.
The police charge sheet alleged that Alice Youti, Edwina Youti, Massah Kennedy, Caesar Kennedy and one Joana deliberately and criminally concealed information about the murder of the victim by defendant Williams for nearly one week.
According to the report, the investigation revealed that the journalist had gone to visit Edwina Promise Youti on Sunday, April 15, in the Kingdom Care Community, where she lived with her cousin, Alice, and suspect Williams, in one apartment.
It was during the visit that he was attacked and stabbed with a knife twice in the left rib and once on the left upper back, which resulted to his death.
During the reading of the indictment, Williams pleaded not guilty, while Edwina and Alice also pleaded not guilty of the crime levied against them.
Meanwhile, the case continues tomorrow, with the selection of jurors and sequestration.