Supreme Court Releases Convicted Killers of Angel Togba

first_imgTwo persons convicted and sentenced to death by hanging for allegedly raping and strangulating a 13 –year- old girl, Angel Togba, to death were on Friday, August 15, set free by the Supreme Court of Liberia.The High Court action, according to Chief Justice Francis Korkpor, was based on the prosecutors’ failure to produce sufficient evidence to support their indictment drawn against the defendants, Hans Williams and Mardea Paykue.Chief Justice Korkpor also went on to explain that the lower court in its judgment, had ignored said lack of evidence and convicted the defendants of the crime murder.Criminal Court ‘B’ on March 19, 2010, found both Williams and Paykue guilty of murdering the Angel Togba and sentenced them to death by hanging.Little Angel was a relative of Paykue and until her death, had lived with the couple as a foster daughter.In the indictment, defendant Hans Williams was accused of sexually abusing the 13-year-old girl while his wife was accused of strangulating Angel to death after she (Mardea) had discovered the sexual relationship between her husband and Angel.But, reversing the lower court decision, on Friday, August 15, when he delivered the final opinion of the March 2014 Term of the Supreme Court,  Chief Justice Korkpor stated “Even though the state produced 10 witnesses and five rebuttal witnesses, none of the witnesses linked anyone to the commission of the crime.”He continued, “They contradicted themselves when they testified during the trial.”In addition, Chief Justice Korkpor said, “none of the witnesses could identify which one of the defendants sexually abused Togba or who strangulated her to death, or who hung her. The court was in error to convict the defendants based on the insufficient evidences produced by prosecutors’ witnesses,” the Supreme Court head asserted.He went on to say that, “They did not produce a DNA test report to the court to link any of the defendants to the commission of the crime.”According to Liberian law, the Chief Justice argued, “a person can be convicted, if there is sufficient evidence produced during a trial, but in the instance case, prosecutors failed to produce the evidence to convict them of the crime.“Therefore, the ruling of the lower court is hereby reversed and the defendants are hereby immediately released from detention at the Monrovia Central Prison. All of their rights are hereby restored,” Chief Justice Korkpor ordered.Delving into the details of the case, the Chief Justice quoted the government witness as saying that “after Togba’s body was discovered, the State instituted a team of Liberian police investigators to investigate her death.“The investigators stated that their findings could not give any clue to link anyone to the crime,” he maintained.“Therefore, they, in consultation with Dr. Anthony Quaye, a Liberian medical doctor who also conducted an autopsy on the body of Angel Togba, concluded that Angel committed suicide,” the Supreme Court boss further quoted prosecutors witnesses.The state disregarded the report of the first investigative team from the LNP and commissioned a second investigation, according to the Chief Justice.“The second team was made up of Ghanaian homicide investigators from the Ghana Police Service who came along with a Cuban pathologist from the Police Hospital in Accra. The team, in consultation with the Cuban pathologist, concluded that Angel was strangulated to death.”According to them, “after thoroughly investigating the crime scene and taking the measurement of the alleged crime scene into consideration relative to the height of Angel, there was no way Angel could have hung herself.”Dr. Quaye testified in open court, according to the Chief Justice, “that even though his autopsy report stated that Angel died of suicide, he had been coerced by LNP officers to make that report.”He told the court that he knew Angel had died of asphyxia secondary to strangulation, the Chief said.A team of American pathologists were also invited from Nebraska Institute of Forensic Sciences in the United States of America (USA) by the defendants in 2008 to conduct autopsy on the remains of Angel Togba, according to Chief Justice Korkpor.“The American team, after their autopsy, concluded that Angel died of suicide. Dr. Thomas L. Bennett, a member of the team who testified to his findings, told the court that Angel died by non-total suspension.”He said, Dr. Bennett told the court that one could commit suicide even by lying on the floor. “Dr. Bennett said for strangulation to be determined, there should be a breakage in the hyoid bone which is located in the neck of every human being. He further stated that the hyoid bone does not break in the case of suicide.” According to Dr. Bennett, none of the previous pathologists made mention of the hyoid bone in their reports but concluded that Angel died of asphyxia secondary to strangulation.He disclosed that his team located the hyoid bone and took a microscopic look at it and realized that it was not broken, which indicated that Angel was not strangulated.The Chief Justice also said “The state however produced a rebuttal witness, Dr. Rituallo, a Philippino pathologist and head of the JFK Pathology Department, and a professor of Pathology at the University of Liberia.According to Dr. Rituallo, even though he did not conduct any autopsy on the remains of Angel Togba, he was given photos taken during previous autopsies of the deceased by the prosecution counsel for review.The JFK pathologist concluded that after a careful review of some of the photos, he could establish that Angel did not hang herself, according to the Chief Justice.He said, Dr. Rituallo, agreed with Dr. Bennett that the hyoid bone is often broken during strangulation, but, according to him, that is very uncommon in children.Hans Williams and Mardea Paykou were arrested in January 2008 by the Liberia National Police (LNP), after the death of 13-year-old Angel Togba, a relative of Mardea and who until her death, lived with the couple as a foster daughter.According to Defendants Hans Williams and Mardea Paykou, they discovered the body of Angel hanging from the curtain rail in their guest bathroom in November 2007, in the Old Road Community.They tried all they could to resuscitate her before rushing her to John F. Kennedy (JFK) Medical Center, but Angel was pronounced Dead on Arrival.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Three Big Things: Warriors embarrassed by upstart Bucks

first_imgIt was the kind of beat-down that would send a lesser team into a deep introspection — or a state of chaos.It was the kind of loss that … Here’s something you can’t say often: The Warriors were not the better team in a game they played.In fact, in Thursday night’s game against the Bucks, they weren’t even close.Milwaukee turned in a statement win at Oracle Arena, running the Warriors off their home court in a 134-111 win that wasn’t as close as the final score might have indicated.last_img

Feke: from South Africa to Ghana and back

first_img“What make me a great entrepreneur? I have a curious mind. I am always asking: If I do this, what happens?” says Siphoakazi Feke. (Image: Barry Hiles) Sulaiman Philip“When I make my first billion I will go back to Lusikisiki and change lives. I am from there, I know what needs exist.” It would be easy to dismiss Siphokazi Feke as simply boastful if all you did was listen to her laugh as she speaks those words.As she outlines the path she wants her life to take she giggles like a schoolgirl, but there is a confident edge to her voice, a strength that comes from having overcome obstacles to build a successful business.“If I think about it, I am risk averse. Failure terrifies me. Life had other plans though. I was forced to face failure,” she says. “I have learned there is just one question you ask yourself: how do I use this experience to move on to the next level?”Feke is the managing director of BW Medical Group, a medical travel agency that channels African – most from the DRC, Ivory Coast, Kenya and Ghana-  patients to South Africa for treatment. It also runs a dialysis and urology clinic in Ghana, where she lives for most of the year.For the rest of Africa, South Africa remains the standard for good medical care; those who can afford it choose to have elective surgery in South Africa. “In Ghana they cut you to remove kidney stones so you’re looking at weeks of recovery. In South Africa, we use shock wave therapy that can be done as an outpatient.” Know your marketThere are no secrets to success, Feke will tell you, only hands on hard work and knowing your market. In Ghana, as it is in most of Africa, learning about your market is difficult. There is not much in the way of data to begin with, but a good entrepreneur works around that. Before sourcing the funding and founding the BW Medical Centre in Accra in 2012, Feke sought data on the number of patients needing dialysis in Ghana’s capital.“Funders want data but no-one keeps those records. What they do have are death certificates with the cause of death listed. I looked through those records for any deaths that could be linked to renal failure and the numbers of patients on chronic medication for hypertension and diabetes, looked at the growing middle class and from that I could extrapolate from that a need existed for a clinic. After that it is gut feel and hard work.”In two years the clinic in Ghana has gone from a start-up struggling to find funding to an established and trusted clinic treating Accra’s influential. “We are at the point now where doctors treat patients, nurse’s care for them and patients pay. It’s a self-sustaining business. Now we can set our sights on the rest of ECOWAS,” Feke says.Africa is alive with opportunity, she explains. It is easier to convince funders to support projects in African countries other than South Africa. For many, South Africa is a mature economy with resources unavailable to more deserving African economies.“The World Bank, for example, will fund a start up in Nairobi before they would one in Cape Town. It’s one of the reasons I moved to Ghana. As an entrepreneur you find innovative ways to find cash. You tweak your dream, you hustle. You do what you need to do to get your vision up and running. South African entrepreneurs need to remind themselves the world is open to investing in Africa. We Africans have the opportunity to build African conglomerates. We can create wealth by Africans for Africa.” Qualified nephrologistFeke was the first black woman to qualify as a clinical technologist with a speciality in nephrology in South Africa. In 1998, when she started working at HF Verwoerd Hospital – now the Steve Biko Academic Hospital – her race was still an issue. “Families would ask why I wanted to touch their father. No-one wanted to be treated by me. A paradigm shift was needed before I could do my job. Fortunately there were people like [senior clinical technologist] Blake van Aswegen, who went out of their way to accommodate me.”In 2001, Feke quit clinical practice and went to work in the pharmaceutical industry. She did sales before moving into brand and product management. Impressed by her insights into the African market, her employer sent her back to school, where she went through the Gordon Institute of Business Science’s Programme for Management Development. It was an education that stood her in good stead while working for a multinational pharmaceutical company, but proved a hindrance when she went out on her own.“I had to unlearn everything and learn how Africa really worked. It’s an unfortunate thing to say but South Africans need to make a mind shift about Africa. We can’t just turn up and expect people to listen. We need to develop an affinity for the region, learn how Africa works, how cultures differ.“Johannesburg is the melting pot for business in Africa, but outside our borders is where the opportunities are. If you are not going to invest the time to learn, then choose to invest somewhere else. Somewhere you consider safe.”Along the way there have been people who have assisted this global South African: the clinician who paid her rent when she arrived in Pretoria, the manager at Adcock Ingram who encouraged Feke to believe in her talents, the entrepreneur who loaned her the seed money for BW Medical and the Metropolitan Insurance Group which took a chance on her vision. Promise of a schoolRight at the beginning, though, was Nelson Mandela, the man who promised her a school. “In 1990, I was in school in Qunu, the same school that Madiba attended. I met him when he came home and he promised that he would build us a school before he became president. Not just walls but a school with an entire support system to give kids a chance.”On her first attempt Feke failed a single matric subject – she passed the year, but not well enough to go on to study medicine. It was then that she got advice from her father that still resounds with her today. “My father suggested that I was still young enough to go back and redo matric. I still remember what he told me: failure is an event; it does not need to define who you are.”Feke’s trajectory has unfurled not with cheery inevitably; her success is built on desire and the will to not bow to failure. She traded the comfort of her rural home for Durban, then Pretoria and finally Ghana.She lost her fear of the challenge of the new when she moved to Pretoria to do her in-service training. “I was standing at the station at 4am with my luggage. It was dark and there was no one to meet me because the hospital was not informed of my arrival, and no idea which direction the hospital was in. For a girl from rural Transkei it does not get scarier than that.”last_img read more

Pork Checkoff publishes new PRRS Initiative Research book

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The National Pork Board’s new porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus research booklet is now available. The guide, PRRS Initiative Research, is the most comprehensive source of Checkoff-funded research available on the subject, spanning 20 years of results.“Each year, the effect of PRRS is felt on pig farms across the country, and it has a $664 million annual impact on the U.S. pork industry,” said David Pyburn, DVM, senior vice president of science and technology, National Pork Board. “The Pork Checkoff has consistently invested in swine science and PRRS research, and the result is a guide that will provide value to understanding PRRS in an effort to address its impact.”The updated and expanded 2017 edition contains Checkoff-funded PRRS research from 1997 to 2016, which can help producers, swine veterinarians and researchers learn more about how to control the costly virus. The guide has six sections including:Immunology, virology and pathogenesisVaccine developmentEpidemiology, risk factors and control strategiesDiagnostic testingSurveillance and elimination strategiesGenetic resistanceThe PRRS Initiative Research (1997-2016) is available online. For more information on the guide, contact Lisa Becton, DVM, at [email protected]­­ or at (515) 223-2791. This week, World Pork Expo attendees also can receive more information on the new guide and discuss research findings with Pork Checkoff staff on-site at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, June 7-9, in Des Moines.The National Pork Board has responsibility for Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. Importers of pork products contribute a like amount, based on a formula. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in advertising, consumer information, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, science and technology, swine health, pork safety and sustainability and environmental management. For information on Checkoff-funded programs, pork producers can call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675 or check the Internet at pork.org.last_img read more

State FFA Vice President at Large, Wyatt Kissell visits West Holmes FFA

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest On October 24, State FFA Vice President at Large, Wyatt Kissell came to talk to all the ag classes. Wyatt talked about how important finances are and things that we can do to make money instead of losing money.  He also stressed the importance of setting goals and working towards your dreams! Thank you Wyatt for visiting and helping us learn more about opportunities in the FFA.last_img