Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Lagos State Special Offences Court has rejected a plea bargain agreement reached between a Chef, Joshua Usulor who murder a lawyer, Mrs Feyisayo Obot at Citi-heights Hotel, Opebi and the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP).
Usulor, who committed the crim on January 26, 2019, in the hotel where he and the deceased lodged in different rooms, was convicted and sentenced to 28 years imprisonment instead of the 21 years’ imprisonment he agreed with the DPP before changing his not guilty plea to guilty.
Justice Taiwo had initially insisted that she would exercise the power conferred on her by Section 75 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law to increase the prison term to 30 years.
But she eventually reduced the convict’s prison sentence to 28 years following a plea for leniency by his counsel, Spurgeon Ataene.
The prosecution team led by Mrs O.A. Bajulaiye-Bishi had said that Usulor, a resident of No. 30, Fadiya Street, Ketu, Lagos, went into Obot’s hotel room to rob her of his outstanding hotel bills.
Obot, an employee of an Abuja-based non-governmental organisation, Save the Children, was in Lagos to write a project management examination.
She was murdered by the convict on the day she was due to check out of the hotel.
The prosecution was still presenting witnesses in the case when Usulor proposed a plea bargain agreement.
Prosecution witnesses who testified so far in the matter are the hotel receptionist, Ms Lateefat Adebayo; the hotel Operations Manager, Mr Olabanji Ibitunde; brother of the deceased, Mr Ige Afolabi; and the Investigating Police Officer, Insp John Babalola.
Colour was arraigned on a count charge of murder contrary to Section 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos, 2015.
The law prescribes a death sentence for any individual found guilty of murder.
Before handing down the sentence, Justice Taiwo asked the convict why he killed the lawyer.
“It was a mistake, I didn’t know what got into me,” he responded.
“Your mistake has cost someone her life,” the judge responded.