Liberia: Man Who Killed Wife for Cooking Cassava Leaves Unanimously Found Guilty of Murder

Temple of Justice, Monrovia – The trial jurors in the case involving the government of Liberia versus Samuel Porte, who was accused of killing his wife for cooking cassava leaf soup, have found him guilty of the crimes of Murder and Aggravated Assault. The jurors of Criminal Court “A” at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia handed down a unanimous guilty verdict with the alleged charges on Monday, February 26, 2024.

By Garmah Lomo, Contributing Writer

After receiving the unanimous guilty verdict, Judge Roosevelt Z. Willie instructed the clerk of court to write to the probation office of the Ministry of Justice to conduct a sentence investigation report on the character and reputation of Defendant Samuel A. Porte prior to the crimes charged.

According to Judge Willie, the report will enable him to make an informed decision in the sentencing of the defendant, which should be forwarded to the court on or before Friday, March 1, 2024. Recently, Defendant Porte, a resident of Crusoeville Township in rural Montserrado County, pleaded guilty to killing his fiancée, Sarah Y. Morris, for cooking cassava leaf soup after he reportedly warned her not to cook such a dish.

The incident occurred on September 2, 2023. Wearing an orange prison outfit with yellow slippers to match, defendant Porte appeared in court, appealing to the government as well as the deceased family, expressing regret for his actions.

The defendant, while pleading for mercy, stated that his action to have murdered Sarah was not intentional, attributing it to the workings of the devil. Defendant Porte was arrested, charged, and indicted by the Grand Jury of Montserrado County for the crime of Murder.

During cross-examination, the prosecution asked whether the death of his fiancée was intentional, purposeful, and unlawfully done by him using a cutlass. The question was objected to by defendant Porte’s lawyers, stating that it was beyond the scope of the witness’s testimony, and Judge Roosevelt Z. Willie sustained the objection. Again, he was asked whether he was begging for mercy and whether he confirmed that he killed his wife. He answered in the affirmative.

The prosecution produced four witnesses in the matter, including Inspector Jerry K. M. Wamah of the Homicide Division, Musu Cox, Delicia D. Gardner, and Dearest Diggs.

Musu Cox, the mother of the deceased, testified that her daughter Sarah told her that Samuel threw away food materials after she prepared them for the next day. She narrated that after hearing from her daughter, she asked Samuel, and he told her that he couldn’t eat cassava leaf, but she advised him that Sarah could always cook a different soup for him whenever she cooked cassava leaf.

According to her, she settled the matter for the time being, and he pretended to agree, but later, while they were all in bed, she heard her daughter shouting, and that’s when she woke up and saw Samuel killing her daughter with a cutlass that she had earlier seen with him when she was called by her granddaughter. She explained that she tried to stop him but couldn’t, so she jumped on him, but he threw her down and cut off her toes.

The deceased daughters, Delicia D. Gardner and Dearest Diggs, testified that they got to know Samuel through their mother, Sarah. The girls admitted to seeing their foster father chopping their mom with a cutlass, and they began to seek help. However, the community is an area where houses are far from each other, so one of them ran up the hill to call their uncle, but before reaching the scene, the defendant had already killed their mom and escaped.

Inspector Jerry K. Wamah explained during the preliminary investigation that defendant Porte butcherly murdered his fiancée at their Crusoville Community residence. He was arrested and denied the allegations initially but later admitted to committing the act and escaping the crime scene.

Based on this, Inspector Wamah said Samuel was charged with the crimes of Murder and Aggravated Assault and was forwarded to court for prosecution. Displaying the weapon used, Officer Wamah showed the cutlass that belonged to Samuel, which he usually used for gathering things from the bush, and stated that the cutlass had bloodstains.

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