Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Justice Nayai Aganaba, Bayels State High Court, on Tuesday, sentenced to death by hanging of 30-year-old Victoria Gagariga for the killing of her husband, Henry Gagariga, on February 4, 2015 at the residence along Ebisam Road in Akenfa, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
The deceased, a lawyer from Sagbama Local Government Area and his wife Victoria from Brass Local Government Area and staff of the Bayelsa Arts and Culture, had been cohabiting for years before they decided to legalise their union in 2014, though it was yet to produce children before the unfortunate incident.
Victoria was said to have stabbed Henry on the neck on the faithful day after a misunderstanding between the couple and was confirmed dead by doctors at the hospital.
Justice Aganaba, before reading his judgement, said the prosecution called six witnesses and produced seven exhibits while the defence only had one witness who happened to be the accused.
Aganaba, who went through records of cross –examination of the witnesses, noted that the onus of proof that the accused committed the murder of Henry Gagariga rested with the prosecution, in line with the three ingredients to prove a murder case namely that the deceased died, that the death of the deceased was caused by the accused and that the action of the accused which caused the death of the deceased was intentional with the knowledge that death or grievous bodily harm was its probable consequence.
The Judge who pointed out that the circumstantial evidence against the accused was overwhelming, said all facts confirmed that she was the only person with the deceased at the time of death and the only person to have the opportunity to have killed him.
According to him, Victoria committed a murder of passion which was a result of jealously as the couple were obsessed with each other.
Tyeh judge said, “It is unfortunate that I can only pronounce the sentence prescribe by law. I wish I had the discretion to do otherwise. However that discretion rests with the Executive Governor of Bayelsa state.
“I am only left with the compulsion to pronounce the sentence prescribed by law. I hope that person the discretion would look at the circumstance of this case and do the needful. I hereby pronounce my sentence. My sentence upon you is that you shall hang on the neck until you die. May the Lord have mercy on your soul.”