May 6, 2021

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Liberia: Jovanus Turay, Mother Charged and Forwarded to Court in Connection with Death of Precious Ireland

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Jovanus Turay (in the hoodie sweater, being led by his father Sylvanus Turay while his mother walks behind him.

MONROVIA – Jovanus Turay, 16, a student of the Cyber-Ed Christian School of Excellence who allegedly shot a fellow student, Precious Ireland, 14, to death on the school campus has been charged with Negligent Homicide after nearly three weeks of police investigation.

He was charged along with his mother, Ms. Josia Saah, who is also being held for illegal possession of firearm.

The police charge sheet states that Jovanus on April 13 took a Taurus G2C 9MM Pistol with live rounds from under his mother’s bed and secretly took the gun to school where he discharged the firearm, killing the Precious Ireland of the 9th grade.

The police charge sheet revealed that the at about 7:25 am, April 13, while the students were doing breakfast, Jovanus went to see his friend Matthew Gonkerwon who was in the French class in room 107 where he met Precious.

He took his seat in the class and thereafter took the gun and began to play with it. He also handed it to Gonkerwon and the deceased who also played with it and returned it to Jovanus, the police charge sheet stated.

Jovanus, the police said, established placed the pistol on his right side while the victim and Gonkerwon were using one headphone to listen to music on Gonkerwon’s iPad.

The police further stated that while the pistol on was Jovanus’ side, Precious cautioned him to remove it from his side since it’s a real gun so that he does not get hurt.  He, accordingly, removed the gun from his side and then removed the magazine and a few minutes later placed the magazine back in the gun and continued to play with it while his friends were still listening to music when the firearm discharged and dropped from Jovanus’ hand to the floor and blood began to ooze from Precious’ neck and shoulder.

The police charge sheet further detailed that Jovanus immediately collected the gun from the floor, placed it in his school bag and took his jacket on tied it around the victim’s neck. Gonkerwon ran outside for fear of his life.

The heavy sound of the gun prompted the security and the instructors to rush to the class where they met Precious lying in a pool of blood. She was rushed to the SOS Clinic where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

The police further established that while the security and instructors rushed classroom to ascertain the cause of the heavy sound, Jovanus asked one of his schoolmates to collect the backpack that contained the firearm from the scene. It was, however, later discovered adjacent classroom 108 after a vigorous search by the security guards.

The police established that Jovanus had no idea on the use of firearm.

Forgiven by Deceased Family

Over the weekend, during the funeral service of the late Precious Ireland, her father, who said he has forgiven the Jovanus, and holds no malice against him or his family.

“As head of the family, we the family, we forgive Jovanus, his father and everybody that has to do with that family hundred percent,” Dr. Ireland in his tribute at the Harvest Continental Church where the interment service of the deceased was held over the weekend. 

Dr. Ireland stressed the need for reconciliation between the two families – his and that of Jovanus. Both families have known each other closely for decades.

“In fact, to take one step forward, we bless you, we pray for Jovanus; we take one step further again, we ask God he will be a better father, a better husband, we will never serve the enemy, we hold on to God – that is our tribute for the beloved Precious,” he said.

Dr. Ireland said Liberia has witnessed too much bloodshed as a result of seeking revenge. This, he said, originated from deep rooted hatred for different reasons.

“We don’t want anything, we don’t want blood for blood, we don’t want any revenge. Our country has seen too much of that, we forgive, we require nothing,” he said.

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