An Ado-Ekiti State High Court, on Tuesday, sentenced a retired military man, 81-year-old Richard Ogunboyo, to 25 years in prison for killing one Felix Esan.
Ogunboyo, who was the head of a vigilante group in Iyin Ekiti, was said to have committed the offence on December 15, 2016, in the community.
Justice Lekan Ogunmoye, in his judgement, said the charge of murder against the convict could not be substantiated, but a case of manslaughter was established.
“Considering his age and the discretion of the court, he is hereby sentenced to 25 years imprisonment without an option of fine,” Ogunmoye ruled.
The police prosecutor, Seyi Akomolafe, had told the court that an eyewitness, who reported the matter at the Igede Divisional Police Headquarters, said the accused and other vigilante members in Iyin Ekiti came to the deceased’s compound on the allegation that a thief was taking refuge in the house.
He said, “Ogunboyo sighted the deceased and confronted him for being rude and disrespectful because he refused to stand up while a search of the compound was being conducted.
“Furiously, he brought out his dane gun and shot the deceased, while he took the remaining four people in the house to his own house, where he detained them till daybreak when they were released.
“When the others got home, the deceased could not be found. When Ogunboyo was confronted over the missing member, he said his relations had come to take him away.
“But there were blood stains on the floor and indications that he was dragged on the floor. The corpse of the deceased was later found in a deep pit along the Awo-Ekiti Road.”
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Ekiti State, Mr Gbemiga Adaramola, called seven witnesses, including the Investigating Police Officer and a medical doctor from the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, who carried out a post-mortem examination on the deceased.
Exhibits tendered included pictures of the deceased’s composed body and others taken at the scene, statements of the convict and eyewitnesses, and the medical doctor’s report.
Ogunboyo, however, pleaded not guilty to the one count of murder preferred against him.
His counsel, A. T. Lawal, called five witnesses to prove his client’s innocence.
The counsel pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy “as the accused was only discharging his duties.”