The Lagos State Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja has sentenced a 30-year-old man, Vincent Jeffrey Ehizojie, to death by hanging for killing his employer, Olusola Olusoga, the owner of Etashol Hotel and Suites and the manager of the hotel, Tunji Omikunle.
Justice Oyindamola Ogala, condemned Ehizojie to death after she held that the prosecution had proven the ingredients of the charge beyond all reasonable doubt.
The condemned convict, who at the time of the crime was working as a supervisor in the hotel, was arraigned before the court on a two-count charge bordering on murder.
The state had told the judge during the course of the trial that Ehizojie committed the offence on January 25, 2019 at about 3 a.m. at 42, Budland Street, Ojodu-Berger, Lagos where the hotel was located.
The convict was also accused of conspiring, with other persons still at large, to steal from the hotel manager and owner but ended up strangling them to death.
The offence contravened the provisions of sections 233 and 223 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2015 (Revised).
In her judgment, Justice Ogala held that the case of the prosecution was premised upon the confessional statement of the convict as well as circumstantial evidence.
The judge stated that confessional statements are the best evidence to ground conviction, and as the Supreme Court had held in several cases, it can be relied upon solely, where voluntarily made.
She held, “It is curious that the defendant, who was privy to the state of affairs in the hotel, told the court that he was shocked when the police informed him of the death of his boss and the manager when he was arrested in Port Harcourt.
“There is no doubt that the defendant was present at the premises of the scene of the crime as confirmed by him in his evidence-in-chief and exhibits before the court,” Justice Ogala held
The judge further said that the court had carefully considered the evidence of the defendant, particularly his account of how he left the hotel premises on January 25, 2019, and his incredible story as to why he did not return to the hotel after the incident nor report at the police station.
She held that the convict had no clear explanation for why he fled to Port Harcourt the next day and that the circumstantial evidence against the convict was unequivocal, positive and irresistibly pointed to his guilt.
She maintained that the court believes that the convict indeed wrote the confessional statement and his feeble attempt to retract same was to exonerate himself from the commission of the deadly act.
The judge further stated, “after carefully considering the facts in this case, I now find the defendant guilty of the two-count charge against him.
“The sentencing of the court upon you, Jeffrey Ehizogie, is that you be hanged on the neck until you die,” Justice Ogala held.
Olusola Olusoga, who owned Etashol Hotels and Suites in Ojodu, Lagos, and the manager, Tunji Omikunle, was strangled on January 25, 2019, at the hotel.
The Lagos State Police Commissioner at the time, Imohimi Edgal, said the suspect, Ehizojie carried out the act with others at large.
He said the Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) footage available to the police showed the role played by each of the suspects.
Ehizojie was arrested in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where he fled to after the dastardly act. “We all agreed that we had no future in the company because we believed our employers were miserly,” he said.
He also said they resolved to rob the late hotelier of her local and foreign currency, being a London returnee.