Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has sentenced five persons to death by hanging for kidnapping and murdering Mr. Anthony Okoro.
The five defendants out of seven persons in suit number PHC/324/2017, are Oluchi Charles, Miracle Anumuna, Ifeanyi Simon, Koko Basset and Uchenna Stanley Amaechi.
They were convicted on the 10 charges preferred against them by the Inspector-General of Police bordering on conspiracy, stealing, armed robbery, kidnapping and murder.
However, the fifth and sixth defendants, Chukwudi Etete and Anthony Ugwu, were discharged and acquitted by the court.
Daily reported that the convicts had on May 26, 2016, attacked the home of Anthony Okoro in Woji area of Port Harcourt, shot him and carried his body away.
The convicts were also said to have stolen a Range Rover jeep, Kia Optimal car, television sets, an Infinix phone and other valuables belonging to the victim.
The judge, Justice George Omereji, in his verdict, held that the prosecution proved its case that the first to fourth and seventh defendants were as guilty as charged.
Omereji, in discharging and acquitting the fifth and sixth defendants, stated that the prosecution could not prove that they had knowledge of the crime, rather they unknowingly bought phones belonging to the victim.
The judge also held that the prosecution proved the case of conspiracy against the convicts.
“It was proven that the convicts had met at Genesis area of Woji in Port Harcourt and planned the kidnap of Okoro and the death of the victim was caused by the convicts,” the judge said.
He regretted that Okoro was shot on his arm and taken away alongside his cars and other valuables by the suspects. The judge based his verdict on Section 410 of the Administration of Criminal Justice 2011.
He said the convicts should be held by the rope till they are confirmed dead.
The prosecution counsel, I. Ubulom, described it as justice done. He said the verdict would serve as deterrent to others involved in criminal activities.