19 December 2012

Liberia: 'We Saw Blood, 21 Single Barrel Pellets'

An officer of the Liberia National Police (LNP) has testified that he saw a pool of blood and 21 single barrel pellets on the scene of the armed robbery.

Inspector John M. Kollie said the single barrel pellets that were discovered on the crime scene are believed to have been used by the defendants during the commission of the crime.

Serving as prosecution's fourth witness in the ongoing armed robbery trial involving journalist Darlington Pelenah and two others, Officer Kollie said following the discovery of the pellets, the crime scene was photographed and other pieces of evidence packaged and sent to the police crime lab for analysis.

He testified that none of the three defendants was arrested on the crime scene, but were later picked up based on the victims' testimonies in which the defendants were named.

"Victim Weeks Thomas made mention of defendants Benjamin Bookie Gbar and William Philip Randolph as the perpetrators and based on that, they were arrested in Paynesville for investigation," officer Kollie testified.

The police inspector said following the arrest of the two defendants, investigators visited the St. Joseph Catholic Hospital where victim Edwin Thomas was undergoing treatment and claimed that he was shot in the head by defendant Darlington Pelenah.

Officer Kollie said it was based on the victim's testimony that defendant Pelenah was arrested on July 28, 2012 at his residence.

In his testimony recently, Edwin Thomas told the court that he identified Pelenah when he was placed at gunpoint, later slapped and thrown on the grown by Pelenah.

According to a three- page indictment drawn by the Grand Jury for Montserrado County on August 20, 2012, the defendants allegedly committed the crime on July 25, 2012 in the GSA Road community in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.

The 12-count indictment stated that on July 25, 2012 as complainant Weeks Thomas and his boys, Edwin Thomas and Chris Kettor drove home from their business center (Forex Exchange Bureau), the defendants rushed on them with several single barrel guns and immediately placed them at gun point.

The document said it was at that point one of the defendants grabbed the plastic containing US$17,000 and made away with it, while firing above their heads.

The indictment stated that prior to the departure of the defendants, one of the plaintiffs, Edwin Thomas, managed to have recognized Pelenah and was reportedly slapped in the face by Pelenah.

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