Serial killer, Gracious David West, has pleaded guilty to the murder of nine young girls at different hotels in Rivers State.
West stunned many who gathered at the Rivers State High Court on Tuesday, after he pleaded guilty to the murder of the female victims, when he was finally arraigned before Justice Adolphus Enebeli.
When charges were read to him, West admitted killing nine persons but pleaded not guilty to attempting to kill his 10th victim on September 18, 2019.
West told the court that he never intended to kill her, but only tied her to a chair and left her in the hotel room.
The presiding judge later ordered that West be remanded in a correctional centre and adjourned the matter till November 18, 2019, for further hearing on the case.
According to the prosecuting counsel, Gladys Imegwu, who spoke with journalists outside the courtroom, it was in the best interest of the state for the Rivers State Ministry of Justice to take over the prosecution of the suspect.
She said, “The court actually ruled on the application of the lawyer from the Ministry of Justice through the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, who made an application to take over the case. It is their constitutional right and the court granted the application; we are not opposed to it.
“It is for the betterment of the state and we are working together. At the same time, we made it clear that we have prosecutorial power; even the Criminal Justice Law gives us that power.”
However, Vincent Chukwu, the counsel for the defendant, said his client’s guilty plea was not enough to convict him of the crime.
He stated that, “The offence in question is a capital offence; whether my client did it or not, the presumption is that the prosecution must still prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. So, it is not for the defendant to just say I am guilty and liable and it ends there.
“Because the punishment is death, the burden is now on the prosecution to go ahead and prove its case and we are waiting for it.
“My client has a very plausible defence, which we shall open at the appropriate time. We had fruitful deliberations with him on Monday and we hope for the best in the matter.”
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