Gboko Stewart, firstname.lastname@example.org
Monrovia- Christian Byron Anderson, the chief suspect in the murder investigation of John Hilary Tubman who was found guilty on June 29, has been sentenced to life imprisonment by Judge Roosevelt Willie of Criminal Court A, according to the New Dawn Newspaper.
Anderson, 30, had been on trial after being linked as the prime suspect in the murder of Tubman who was found dead in his home in September 2021.
He was caught alongside his accomplices, Emmanuel Forkey and Aloysious Gablah. Anderson’s accomplices entered a plea bargain with the state to testify against him to win their freedom.
According to the New Dawn, Anderson will serve his life imprisonment at the overcrowded Monrovia Central Prison where conditions are reportedly beyond dire.
The Tubman family could not be reached for a comment on the sentencing or the verdict.
John Hilary Tubman, 76, was the son of longest-serving Liberian President William V.S. Tubman. He was believed to be gay.
The New Dawn, quoting Anderson, said that Tubman and the defendant had intimate relations.
“After he on several occasions had sex with me, I decided to ask him for money to enable me to seek medical treatment at any hospital in Liberia, but [he] refused to give me the money, and said ‘are you the only woman,” Anderson alleged, according to the New Dawn.
LGBTQ Liberians continue to face widespread threats, assault, harassment, and hate speech, according to the 2020 U.S. State Department Human Rights report.
Tubman’s death comes nearly two years following the disappearance of Dominic Renner and Winston Toe. Renner and Toe’s disappearance has been linked to Cheeseman Cole, an ex-soldier of the Armed Forces of Liberia. Cole reportedly used Facebook to “catfish” over 27 men he suspected of being gay.
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 has shown no interest in moving forward on the case.
Anderson’s lifetime imprisonment is seen by many in the LGBT community as it struggles with access to justice and equal protection under the law. Liberia is a signatory to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR).
Raham Johnson, an activist, says he believes it sends a strong message that there is no justification for killing someone because of their sexuality.
“As an activist, I am happy to see the murderer being sentenced to life,” he said. “This will serve as a deterrent to homophobes who think their brutal actions towards LGBT people are justifiable under the law.”
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