A 37-year-old man, Benjamin Toma was Thursday sentenced to death by hanging for allegedly killing his wife, Vicky.
Toma was arraigned before a Plateau High Court sitting in Barkin-Ladi on a one-count charge of culpable homicide, punishable with death, under section 221 of the penal code.The accused allegedly used an iron rod to kill the wife and also used a rope to tie her neck before hanging her in the store to give the impression that she killed herself.
He was said to have committed the crime on March 4, 2014 and was first arraigned on October 13, 2014.
A prosecution witness, Sgt. Sunday Abu, who investigated the case, told Justice Samson Gang that Toma, in a confessional statement, had said that on the said date (March 4), he demanded for sex from his wife at about 1 a.m.
The prosecutor submitted the confessional statement in court as evidence saying, “He (Toma) further confessed that his wife refused to grant his request, and declared that Vicky had persistently rejected that demand for more than one year on the suspicion that he had HIV/AIDS.“Toma said that because of this wife’s allegation, he went to the hospital and confirmed he had hepatitis and not HIV. He told investigators that on that night, he struggled with his wife and later used an iron rod to hit her.
“He said that when she fell, he left her there for two hours, and later took her out of the room and used a rope to hang her in a bid to conceal his action. “Toma said he acted alone without any help and that even the children were fast asleep and did not know what was happening,” the prosecutor added. The deceased’s mother, Sambo Ngo, also appeared as a prosecution witness in court. Ngo said she heard people crying at her daughter’s matrimonial home and branched over only to discover the body of her daughter hanging from the roof.
According to her, she called her son, one Captain, who observed that the table the accused claimed Vicky stood on, to commit the said suicide, was very far from her, adding that some lacerations and wounds on her, prompted him to invite the police as he (Captain) suspected foul play.
In the first hearing, Toma was said to have pleaded not guilty to the allegation of killing his wife, and claimed that she took her life by hanging herself. But at the second hearing yesterday, Toma promptly owned up. In his ruling, Justice Gang, in a 68-paged judgment, pronounced Toma guilty of the crime.
Gang said, “Going by the findings of this court, you, Benjamin Toma, mercilessly and in a calculative manner, took the life of your wife in cold blood. “You have not shown any remorse for your reprehensible act at the time of the incident and throughout the entire trial. You were exhibiting such character traits that seem to suggest your deep conviction about the justness of your wicked and callous act.
“In all of this, your two children are the ultimate losers, but the law shall nonetheless take its course; the offence for which you are being charged, does not contemplate a plea in mitigation. “The sentence of this court upon you is that you, Benjamin Toma, will be hanged until you are dead,” the judge ruled.