Liberia: John Tubman Murder Was Preconceived and Well Planned, Indictment Reveals

Monrovia – The alleged murder of John Hilary Tubman, son of former Liberian President, William V.S. Tubman, by Christian Byron Anderson, Emmanuel M. Forkey, and Aloysius Garblah was meticulously planned and orchestrated, according to a copy of the indictment by the Grand Jurors of Montserrado County which was obtained by journalRAGE.

The trio, according to the indictment, is being charged with two counts of murder and criminal conspiracy which carry a lengthy sentence, ranging from death to life imprisonment as provided in sections 50.5 and 51.3. (c) of the Penal Law.

Though the defendants have admitted to the commission of the crime, it is not known whether they have pled guilty to save them from a trial. Defense lawyers could not be reached for comment. The office of the Minister of Justice, Frank Musa Dean, was unavailable for a comment, but multiple highly placed sources in the Ministry confirmed the veracity of the indictment in possession of journalRAGE.

Info on the commencement of the trial is still under the wraps as Minister Dean’s office could not be reached for comment.

John H. Tubman, 76, was found murdered in his home on September 21, 2021. His gory death as well as the sketchy and lurid details then surrounding his killing sent jitters across the country and in the underground lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, bellowing cries of insecurity.

He was believed to be gay.

His murder mounted acute public pressure on the Liberia National Police to bring his killers to book. And following what appeared to be an initial sloppy handling, dilly-dallying, shilly-shallying, and sharp contradictions by the Ministry of Justice and the LNP, law enforcement authorities released the photos of two brothers – Christian Byron Anderson and William V.S. Anderson – who were allegedly linked to the commission of the crime.

A massive public manhunt was launched by the Police, and following weeks of intense searching, the duo was caught alongside an accomplice nestled in River Cess County.

At a press conference in Monrovia following their capture, the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police, Patrick Sudue, announced that Christian Byron Anderson, following his arrest and preliminary investigations, admitted to murdering Tubman. Anderson was also arrested alongside Aloysious Garblah at the home of the latter’s parents. 

According to Sudue, the motives surrounding the death were unclear. But during a snappy interview with a shabbily dressed Anderson, 29, which was hurriedly shut down by Police spokesman, Moses Carter, he alleged he was molested by Tubman.

William V.S. Anderson, younger brother of Christian Byron Anderson, was let off the hook as he didn’t have any link to the commission of the crime, according to Police Inspector General Patrick Sudue.

How was Tubman’s murder planned?

While the motives around Tubman’s death continue to be illusory as the Police have since remained coy, the grisly murder was hatched by Christian Byron Anderson in the Rehab community of Paynesville, the indictment revealed.

“That the criminal act of the defendant that led to the death of the deceased took place after the three defendants met on diverse occasions, in the Reb [Rehab] Community of Paynesville and planned to proceed to the residence of the deceased after they were convinced by Co-Defendant Christian Byron Brown [Anderson] for them to go to his boss man (Deceased) residence in Sinkor, Monrovia to robe [rob] him.”

According to the indictment, Anderson, reportedly a distant relative of Tubman, had been formerly in his employ giving him a distinct knowledge of the ins and outs of the residence of John Hilary Tubman to carry out the alleged grisly act.

“…As such he led the other two Co-Defendants to the deceased’s residence on the night of September 22, 2021, where they arrived during sunset.”

The Tubman family continues to deny Christian Byron Anderson and William V.S. Anderson as distant relatives of John Hilary Tubman.

The Grand Jurors’ indictment furthered that when the deceased arrived at Tubman’s residence in Fiamah, they purchased sausages and poisoned them with tobacco, and fed it to the dogs guarding the residence to have unfettered access to carry out the alleged act.

“That after poisoning the dogs during nightfall, they entered the deceased’s yard and concealed themselves in the basement of the deceased’s compound where they remain[ed] until the deceased came down as he has always done, to lock the gates to his compound.”

The men remained hidden until the aging Tubman fell asleep, according to the indictment. “Thereafter, they moved into his bedroom and physically attacked him, while at the same time chopping him with a cutlass and having realized that the deceased had gone unconscious, they looted cash and personal belonging, including mobile phones, laptops, DVD, foodstuffs, among other and then fled the scene and were arrested in River Cess County after some two months.”

While the motives around Tubman’s death continue to be circumstantial, observers have not failed to rule out that his sexuality may have played a role in his murder.

His death sparked questions about the disappearance of Dominic Renner and Winston Toe in September and October 2020 respectively. Renner and Toe’s disappearance has been linked to Cheeseman Cole, an ex-soldier of the Armed Forces of Liberia who reportedly used Facebook to “catfish” over 27 men he suspected of being gay.

LGBTQ Liberians continue to face widespread threats, assault, harassment, and hate speech, according to the 2020 U.S. State Department Human Rights report.

Though Cole was arrested and briefly detained at the Monrovia Central Prison, he has been freed on bail awaiting trial. The status of the case continues to remain shrouded in secrecy as the Ministry of Justice appears reluctant to prosecute. Ministry of Justice spokesperson Maude Somah could not be reached for comment.

LGBTQ Liberians have experienced incessant attacks in the last year.

Recently, a student of the Trinity United Methodist School was expelled for crossdressing when a viral video on Facebook showed him in a playful but fiery exchange with a female street preacher who had sought to preach damnation upon him.

Two teenagers and a man were beaten in May over suspicion they were gays. The trio claimed they were returning from a wake-keeping ceremony. Though arrests were made, the Ministry of Justice failed to prosecute. They were relocated by human rights organizations for their safety.

Liberian law criminalizes consensual same-sex sexual activity between consenting adults. Articles 14.74, 14.79, and 50.7 [of the Penal Code of 1976] consider voluntary sodomy as a first-degree misdemeanor, with a penalty of up to one-year imprisonment. 

Investigation continues.

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