LIBERIA: Man, 77, Gets 10 Years For Rape-Murder Of Girl, 11, But State Differs

Flash Back: Man in handcuff on his way to prison

GANTA – (LINA) – At long last, the 8th Judiciary Circuit Court in Sanniquillie City, Nimba County has concluded the year-long rape-murder case involving 77 year-old Josiah Karwon and Verolyn Luogon, 11.

It can be recalled that on January 15 this year, Veroline Luogon decaying corpse was discovered in a swamp after she had gone missing earlier in Bueh Town, District #7, Nimba County.

Following the discovery, Police launched an investigation and later arrested and sent to court a 77 year-old man identified as Josiah Karwon for his alleged involvement in the rape and murder of the minor.

The accused was immediately transferred to the headquarters of the Liberia National Police in Sanniquillie City, Nimba County for probe during which he admitted his involvement into the death of the 11 year-old.

Since then, he had been arraigned at the Sanniquillie Circuit Court appearing for trial until Monday, December 9, when a unanimous guilty verdict was brought down by a 15-man jury.

In passing the sentence Tuesday, Resident Judge James N. Glayene handed a ten year jail term to defendant Karwon, but his decision is being heavily criticised by State prosecutors.

Speaking to the Liberia News Agency via telephone, the Assistant Minister for Litigation at the Ministry of Justice, Cllr. Wesseh A. Wesseh, said the judge in the case contravened the law of the Republic by being “very lenient” with his decision on the penalty for the crimes of rape and murder.

According to Cllr. Wesseh, the law is “very clear” on sentencing and absolutely there is no reason why the judge ignored what is on the book regarding sentencing the convict whom, he noted, committed two capital offences against the state.

He stressed that the judge should have followed the law by handing the convict life imprisonment, since death by hanging is abolished for now in Liberia.

According to Cllr. Wesseh, the judge also contravened the statue by assuming unto himself a lawmaking function, instead of the law interpretation function, adding “the decision by the judge is very lenient”.

He said, based on the lenient decision from the judge, he has instructed Nimba County Attorney, Hector Quoiguah, to file a “motion to correct judgement” in the case, noting that “the case is yet to be concluded because the judge misinterpreted the law.”

According to him, the state will take an appeal to the highest court of the land, the Supreme Court of Liberia, if the judge fails to look into their motion and reconsider the sentencing.

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About Cholo Brooks 13170 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.