Buchana-The unanimous guilty decision rendered against Martha Doe, the Prayer Warrior, has been confirmed by Judge Kennedy Peabody, the presiding judge of the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court in Grand Bassa County.
In the judge’s ruling on Monday, October 10, 2022, he said it will be a violation of the trial procedure if the court conforms upon itself the right to usurp the function of a trial jury by giving due consideration to the value and weight attached to the evidence was sufficient in law to enable the Trial of facts to make an informed determination, the court, therefore becomes impotent to set the verdict aside.
Judge Peabody stated that based on the evidence produced by the parties, the empaneled jury brought a verdict of guilty against defendant Martha Doe for the crimes of kidnapping and murder respectively. While Defendant James E. Brooks was also found guilty of conspiracy, while Defendant Erickson Diggs was discharged. Therefore, to merely aver that a jury verdict is contrary to the weight of the evidence adduced at trial is not detailed enough to enable the court to reach a conclusion to set the verdict aside.
“To the mind of this court, the only institution that is competent to reevaluate and reweight the evidence as was adduced during the trial and or redetermine the credibility to be attached to the witnesses that appear before this court and testified is the Appellate Court and in this instance, the Supreme Court of Liberia, Judge Peabody stressed”.
Therefore, from a careful review of the evidence as adduced by the two parties, it can be said that sufficient evidence was available to the Jurors, based upon which they legally made a determination in reaching a verdict. This Court hereby adjudged Defendant Martha Doe guilty of the crimes of murder and kidnapping respectively according to Subsections 14.1 and 14.50 of the Penal Code, consistent with 50.5, Defendant Martha Doe is hereby sentenced for a period of twenty years.
While Defendant James E. Brooks is hereby found guilty of the crimes of conspiracy and Criminal Facilitation according to Subsections 10.1 and 10.4 respectively and consistent with Section 50.5, and this being a felony of the first degree, in which he was a conspirator, he is hereby sentenced for a period of five years. Defendant Erickson Diggs is hereby set free and discharged without day from all charges, Judge Peabody announced.
Followed by the judge’s ruling, counsels for the defendants except and further announced an appeal into said ruling to the Honorable Supreme Court of Liberia for review during its March Term, A.D 2023. The Judge granted the appeal and says since the appeal serves as a stay, those defendants on bail remain on bail.
It can be recalled that Joseph Blamah who went to Martha Doe for prayer to get a job went missing around 3:00 AM on the 25th of March AD 2022. After nineteen days, he was found dead at the bank of the St. John River, Duwen Town, one mile away from the church where the prayer service was conducted. The situation led to the subsequent arrest and indictment of Martha Doe with the crimes of kidnapping and murder, while James Brooks and Erickson Diggs were charged with conspiracy and Criminal Facilitation.
Reported by: Marvin Vah
Contact: +231 77 840 1813