A convict, one Mr Fidelix Edozien, 30, from Anam in Anambra State has been sentenced to death by hanging by an Asaba High Court for the murder of one Mrs Evelyn Chima.
Mr Edozien who pleaded not guilty to the three counts charge was sentenced by the Chief Judge’s Court presided over by Justice Marshal Umukoro for conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping and murder, contrary to sections 516, 364 and 319 (1) Criminal Code Cap. 48 Vol. 11 Laws of defunct Bendel State as applicable in Delta State.
According to the prosecution witness, on September 24, 2008 the accused person with three others at large conspired and kidnapped the victim, Mrs Evelyn Chima a.k.a Madam Do Good at Ogbade in Illah where she had gone to excavate stones.
The 1st prosecution witness and daughter of the victim testified she received a telephone call the following day that the mother had been kidnapped by unknown person. She later received another call with her mother’s line where the kidnappers demanded for $1.5 million which was later reduced to N600, 000, and finally negotiated to #100,000, but sent N15, 000.
She further averred that the day she was scheduled to speak with the mother, the kidnappers presented a woman whose voice was strange to her and knowing that she had caught them in their trick they switched off the phone.
The kidnapper, who was one of the victim’s workers, was traced and arrested in Illah through the line he used to receive calls and recharge cards.
The court was further told that the accused person took the police to the spot where the victim was buried in a shallow grave.
Dismissing the submission of the defence counsel on whether the court can convict an accused person on the basis of confessional statement alone, Justice Marshal Umukoro citing copious statutory and Judicial authorities, held, “Evidence corroborating an accused person’s confession is only desirable as a matter of evidence so as to eliminate any possibility of miscarriage of justice but such corroborative evidence is not imperative as a matter of Law, and the court can convict an accused person on his confession, provided the confession is positive, direct and unequivocal and the court is sure of it.”
He held that from available evidence before the court, the prosecution had proved without reasonable doubt all the ingredients of conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping and murder against the accused person.