By Melvin Jackson
MONROVIA: The prosecution lawyer’s first witness Zion Tarr in the murder trial involving former Chief Justice Gloria Musu-Scott took the witness stand and said that he did not enter the home of Co-defendant Gloria Musu Scott after he used cutlass to break the window bar.
Tarr, the prosecution’s first witness who had gone to testify in the alleged murder trial involving former Chief Justice, Cllr. Musu-Scott, and three others for the death of Charloe Musu, said that on February 22, he went to work about 7:30 at the home of co-defendant Scott and did his security check before taking his duty post.
He spoke in open court on Monday, September 4, 2023, testifying further that while at his duty post, he heard co-defendant Gertrude Newton shouting that arm robbers had entered on them and that he should open the gate which he did not do because he never had the keys to it.
He further said that he used a cutlass to break the window bar to allow three of the defendants to pass through except for the victim and co-defendant Scott, stating that his main focus was to help the defendants who were seeking help; although he testified further that he remained outside and observed the scene.
Witness Tarr is an employee of the Genesis Security Guard Service and he took his first assignment at the home of former Chief Justice Scott on February 17, seven days to the accident that led to the death of victim Charloe Musu, a graduating senior of the Starz University.
The State could not produce its second witness as the Criminal Court A” Judge Roosevelt Willie has warned against delay in the production of witnesses in the court. However, the production of prosecution witnesses is expected to continue on Tuesday, September 5, when the prosecution will be allowed to produce their second and third witnesses if possible.
Former Chief Justice Gloria Musu Scott and three others have pleaded ‘not guilty’ to charges brought against the accused, including murder, and are being tried before Criminal Court A” at the Temple of Justice.
The alleged murder case involving former Chief Justice Scott along with her relatives recently began at Criminal Court ‘A’ the Temple at Justice before Judge Roosevelt Willie; with the production of Prosecution first witness yesterday.
On Monday, August 28, 2023, immediately after the clerk of the court read the indictment to the defendants Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott, Gertrude Newton, Rebecca Youdex Wisner and Alice Johnson pleaded not guilty to the alleged crime of Murder Criminal Conspiracy, and making false statements to law officials.
The law provides that after the “not-guilty” plea entered by the defendants, authentically joined the issue with the State, wherein the prosecution is now charged with the responsibility to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Subsequently, prosecution lawyers asked for change of venue twice on claim that the case was overly publicized in Montserrado County in the media and that the jury would not be impartial in hearing the case, but Judge Roosevelt Willies denied the prosecution’s motion for a change of venue on the merit of defense counter argument that the prosecution wanted to delay the case forgetting to know that the crime was committed in Montserrado.
The defense further argued that the prosecution did not provide any proof concerning the publication of the newspapers which they claimed could jeopardize the hearing, noting that the prosecution failed to realize the personality in the case is the former Chief Justice and anywhere they take the case journalists will follow.
Meanwhile, a hearing into the alleged murder case involving the former chief justice continues tomorrow with jurors’ selections taking center stage.
The motion reads:
“Now comes Movant the Republic of Liberia by and thru the Ministry of Justice/Plaintiff in the entitled cause of action praying your and this Honorable Court for a change of place/venue of prosecution in the form and manner as showery to write:
The named Criminal defendants, Gloria Musu Scott, Gertrude Newton, Rebecca Yonder Wisner, and Alice Johnson were arrested, investigated, and charged by the Crime Services Department of the Liberia National Police for the commission of the crime mentioned hereinabove.
Consistent with Chapter 15 subsection 15.5 of the Criminal Procedure law of the Republic of Liberia, the Special Ground jury for Montserrado County, Republic of Liberia upon their oath and after careful deliberation, found, established, and indicted the defendants for the commission of the aforesaid criminal offenses or crimes.
hat movant says avers that since the gruesome murder of Charloe Musu on the 22nd day of February 2023, the case is being discussed publicly and critically within Montserrado County to the extent that almost every media outlet prints or electronic has been discussing the merits of the case which is yet to be tried.
That movant application or submission for change of place/venue of prosecution is in line with Chapter 5 Section 5.7(b) of the Criminal procedure law and statutory laws of the aforesaid republic.
Wherefore and given the foregoing facts and circumstances and legal citations stated Supra, movant most respectfully prays your Honor and this Honorable court to: Change the place or venue of the aforesaid case or trial for the reasons stated above. Have the aforesaid case or trial transferred to another jurisdiction outside of Montserrado County. Grant unto movant all and every singular relief that equity and justice demands in these premises.”
The government three-count indictment further said that on February 22, the Defendants with criminal minds and intent, armed with a sharp instrument believed to be a knife, and pepper spray, willfully, intentionally, purposely, and maliciously inflicted several bodily injuries on the person of Charlie Musu, including her chest, right hand, left thigh, and left armpit, which led to her death, thereby committing the crime of Murder.
According to the indictment, it was on the night of February 22, after the family had eaten and were all in the house, when the security guards assigned to the home of Co-Defendant Musu-Scott, heard a crying sound coming from inside the house.
As the sound got louder, Security Guards Anthony Musu and Zion Tarr, approached the room window of Co-Defendant Scott and in that process, they saw Co-Defendant Gertrude Newton slide the bathroom window glass of Co-Defendant Scott, and upon seeing them, she started screaming for help saying “that the people on us in the house!.” Also seen in the bathroom with Co-Defendant Newton was Charloe Musu, now deceased.
“After hearing from Co-Defendant Gertrude that someone was on them in the house, Security Guard Zion Tarr left to call Security Guard Moses Wright who was their commander, and told him that someone was in the house on the occupants based on what Co- Co-Defendant Gertrude Newton had told him,’’ the indictment noted.
The indictment maintained that when the security guards Wright and Tarr returned, they left security guard Anthony Musu at the bathroom window of Co-Defendant Scott, and they went to the back of the house to Co-Defendant Wisner’s room. When they got to the window of Co-Defendant Wisner’s room, Co-Defendant Gertrude Newton came and told Zion Tarr to break the window bar if he had anything to allow them to come outside. As instructed, Tarr broke the window bar with a cutlass and aided three of the Defendants to get outside through the window.
‘’After the three Co-Defendants came outside and being very concerned and apprehensive about the alleged armed robber, the security guard, Zion Tarr, decided to remain at the window with his cutlass to see whether the alleged intruder would come outside through that window since there was no other entry or exit at the time,’’ the indictment explained.