By Gboko Stewart, email@example.com
Monrovia-Christian Byron Anderson, 29, the prime suspect who has been on the run in the murder investigation of John H. Tubman, said he was tampered with by the deceased, coercing him to retaliate and commit the heinous act.
“The papay tampered with me and myself I went back at him—I went against him,” he said during an impromptu interview at the headquarters of the Liberia National Police which was hurriedly shut down by the Police spokesman, H. Moses Carter.
John Hilary Tubman, 76, son of former Liberian President William V.S. Tubman, was found murdered in his home in a pool of blood on September 22, 2021. He was believed to be gay.
Anderson was caught alongside an accomplice, Aloysius Garplay, on Sunday, November 14 in Rivercess County, and during preliminary investigation admitted to the commission of the crime, according to the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police, Patrick Sudue.
“We spoke to the two suspects and they all admitted to the commission of the crime,” Sudue said. “According to Aloysious, he was lured in the building by the nephew of the late John H. Tubman, who is Christian Byron Anderson.”
However, sources close to the Tubmans have refuted claims that Anderson, is a nephew of John Hilary Tubman.
“He’s not his nephew,” a source said. “Though his father and brother are both named after Tubman, but they are Marylanders.”
The revelation from Anderson suggests he may have been sexually harassed. But it also raises questions about the level of truism in his statement, his murky past as well as the nature of the relationship between him and the deceased who was widely believed and known in higher society to be gay.
Sources in Liberia’s underground LGBT community as well as sources close to Christian Byron Anderson said the duo shared an intimate relationship that was ongoing at the time of his death.
“Byron and Mr. Tubman had something going on,” a source claimed. “Once in a while when I dropped by at his [Tubman’s] house to see him, I used to see Byron there, sometimes without shirt.”
Another source claimed that the suspect is a sex worker who targets men he believes to possess financial wherewithal. “I know him from the Old Road. He was loving to two friends of mine who have money. He likes men with money.”
The death of John Hilary Tubman comes a year 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 who reportedly used Facebook to “catfish” over 27 men he suspected of being gay.
LGBTQ Liberians continue to face widespread threats, assault, harassment, and hate speech, according to the 2020 U.S. State Department Human Rights report.
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 appears reluctant to prosecute. Ministry of Justice spokesperson Maude Somah could not be reached for comment.
LGBTQ Liberians have experienced incessant attacks in the last year.
Recently, a student of the Trinity United Methodist School was expelled for crossdressing when a viral video on Facebook showed him in a playful but fiery exchange with a female street preacher who had sought to preach damnation upon him.
Two teenagers and a man were beaten in May over suspicion they were gays. The trio claimed they were returning from a wake-keeping ceremony. Though arrests were made, the Ministry of Justice failed to prosecute. They were relocated by human rights organizations for their safety.
Liberian law criminalizes consensual same-sex sexual activity between consenting adults. Article 14.74, 14.79, and 50.7 [of the Penal Code of 1976] consider voluntary sodomy as a first-degree misdemeanor, with a penalty of up to one-year imprisonment.
Police dragnet widens—more suspects revealed
Though Christian Byron Anderson and an accomplice have been arrested by the Liberia National Police, the case is still distant from being closed as leads are still being pursued, said the Police Inspector General.
“For now, I cannot tell you whether the case is closed.”
He announced the arrest and detention of the parents of Aloysius Gaplay who, he said, will be charged for aiding and abetting the crime by concealing the suspects in their residence in Rivercess County.
“The mother and father of Aloysius are here and from our investigation, it was alleged that the mother and father of Aloysius Gaplay were hosting the with the acquiescence of the crime being committed—they were in the know and they kept them. They were aiding and abetting them.
“According to Gaplay, the father and the mother took them to fetish [voodoo priest] to see what they can do to kill the case. We brought in the mother and father—they are here with us and if proven, they will be charged.”
He revealed that the Police are in search of another suspect named Emmanuel Forkey, 19, who goes by the moniker of Dr. Love/Emmanuel The Dancer.
Forkey, according to Inspector General Sudue, is a resident of Bernard Farm in the FDA community of Paynesville.
“Anybody who will give information on this gentleman will be rewarded handsomely.,” he added.
Forkey’s role in Tubman’s murder remains unclear as, according to the Liberia National Police, he does not have a criminal record.
The Police boss further revealed that William V.S. Anderson, who was also listed as one of the persons of interest in the murder case, was arrested but later released.
William V.S. Anderson and Christian Byron Anderson have been established as siblings, according to info gleaned from family sources and the Liberia National Police.
“Baby Shad was brought in—Baby Shad is with us and he has been investigated and was signed for because we didn’t find any link between, he and his brother. So, Baby Shad is here with us, the lawyers signed for him and he’s reporting on a daily basis.
Anderson’s Murky Past – Did it Catch Up?
Christian Byron Anderson, it appears, has a checkered past that may have caught up with him on September 22, 2021.
An investigation by journalRAGE has found out that the suspect was a resident of the tiny West African nation of the Gambia and, according to family sources, committed a similar act which caused him to flee
“I’m telling you—that what bought him to Liberia,” the source said. “He was living in the Gambia, because of the killing that went on there, he had to sneak and come back Liberia.”
The source alleged that Anderson has a violent streak. “He was loving to one man on the Old Road and he said he was going to attack the man—I don’t know what the man did to him.”
Internment on Saturday
Meanwhile, John Hilary Tubman is set to be buried on Saturday, November 20. The funeral, scheduled to take place at the First United Methodist Church on Ashmun Street, is expected to draw hundreds. Interment, according to TLCAfrica, will happen in Brewerville.
Investigation continues. This story originally appeared in FrontPage Africa.
Since you’re here…
… we have a small favor to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting journalRAGE’s independent journalism on LGBT issues in Liberia and the media. And unlike many news organizations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all.
Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. journalRAGE’s journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.
We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support journalRAGE from as little as $5 – and it only takes probably less than a minute. To donate, click here.