BUCHANAN – After a series of emotional statements, the Judge of the Second Judicial Circuit Court in Grand Bassa County on April 4 formally sentenced a man to 60 years in prison for the 2021 murder of a two-year-old girl.
Bill Friday Ziah, 25, who appeared in court on March 8 and had pleaded guilty to murder, heard Judge Zuballah Kiziku serve him the prison term during a nearly two-hour of hearing.
The sentence came after more than two hours of victim impact statements made by relatives of the deceased and the county attorney of Grand Bassa County, Randolph D.M.O Johnson, who prayed the court to give a maximum sentence to Defendant Ziah to serve as a deterrence to people who intentionally take others’ lives away.
Attorney Johnson argued that Ziah was in his right frame of mind when he committed the act and his guilty plea shouldn’t be used to give him a minimum sentence.
Ziah, who told journalists in March that he killed the little girl because her dad had reportedly refused to settle a debt owed him, took the responsibility of his action and said he was influenced by the devil.
“I lost my senses,” he said. If I had known I wouldn’t have done what I did. I’m really sorry.”
One of the victim’s aunts who witnessed the proceedings said to Ziah, “You didn’t break us,” she added. “We are here, alive and free … and wishing you nothing but hell in your cell.”
“I can finally tell my baby: Rest in peace,” she said slowly, pausing between the last three words and noting that January 10 would have been her niece’s 3rd birthday.
“Her life was cut short,” the aunt said, then, referring to her niece, said, “You will always be celebrated.”
“Amen!” someone in the public gallery shouted. For the victim’s dad, pastor Yakpazuah Pewee, he has forgiven Ziah and said his action to have gruesomely murdering his daughter wasn’t normal but rather demonic.
“Whether or not Ziah could have been sentenced to life or how many years given him, it couldn’t bring back his daughter.
He described her daughter as “a beautiful and loving person who was “silly, loyal, happy, a lover of life.”
Calling him by his name, then looking directly at him, said, “Whatever you do in this lifetime will be revisited on you.”
“You had a chance to do right,” he told Ziah. “Don’t you feel any remorse? You embarrassed your family.”