10 January 2013

Liberia: More Testimonies in Journalist's Armed Robbery Trial

Defense fourth witness in the ongoing armed robbery case involving Kings FM News Director Darlington Pelenah and two others has questioned the possibility of defendant Pelenah to leave the house beyond 10:00 P.M after he reportedly locked the door.

Witness Benjamin Kpangba, II who lives with defendant Pelenah said it was almost impossible for the defendant to have unceremoniously left or opened the door because with the exception of the accused and his wife, no one else in the house knows how to open the door when it is locked.

"I always closed the door by 10 pm, so after I checked my time and it was going to 10:pm, I asked whether I should lock the door and Darlington left in his room and said you can close the door because the children are all in," witness Kpangba said.

"No one can open the door besides me and my wife; and any sound from the door we would have known," the witness testified.

Witness Kpanbga said defendant Pelenah met him at home upon his (defendant's) return from town at about 8:15 pm on July 25, 2012, and they both interacted for less than three minutes when Pelenah entered the house while he and his wife were outside cooking.

The witness said his next interaction with the defendant was at about 10 pm when a lady only identified as Irene knocked at Pelenah's window to ask him to switch the generator off because of gun sound that was reportedly coming from the GSA road community.

Defendants Pelenah, Benjamin Bookie Gbar and William Philip Randolph are being prosecuted for their alleged roles in an armed robbery incident in the GSA road community on July 25, 2012.

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

The 12-count indictment states that on that date, 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 the complainant at gun-point and commanded them to lie on the ground.

The document said it was at that point one of the defendants grabbed the plastic that was 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.

"It was then that he (Thomas) was shot in the head by one of the defendants and was taken to the Catholic Hospital," the indictment noted.

The defendants were separately arrested on July 26 and 29, 2012 at different locations in Monrovia.

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