Awalu Abubakar, one of the suspected killers of Mrs Funke Olakunri, the 58-year-old daughter of Pa Reuben Fasoranti, has been discharged and acquitted by an Ondo State High Court.
Abubakar, who was charged with aiding and abetting the kidnap and murder of Funke, was found not guilty by the court.
However, three other suspects Mohammed Usman, Osagie Lawal and Adamu Adamu were sentenced to death by hanging.
The Ondo Attorney General arraigned Mohammed Usman, Osagie Lawal and Adamu Adamu in 2019 for the murder of Funke.
They were charged with four counts including felony to wit murder, murder, and kidnapping.
Delivering judgment, Justice William Olamide held that the prosecution proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
The judge delivered the judgment after listening to submissions by the prosecution and defence counsel and adopted the final written addresses.
Mr Charles Titiloye appeared for the prosecution while Mr Obafemi Bawa appeared for the defence.
They were first arraigned in an Akure Magistrate’s Court, which ordered their remand in Owo Correctional Centre.
The convicts then had no representation in court but pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
The Ondo State Attorney-General, Kola Olawoye, who represented the state, declared that the state government was ready to take over the case.
He urged the court to rely on the statement deposed by an official of FSARs, Akeem Ogunjobi, who prayed that the suspects should be remanded at the Correctional Centre in Owo because the Akure Correctional facility was overstretched.
He also pleaded with the court to allow the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to conduct a COVID-19 test on the defendants before moving them to the Correctional Centre.
According to him, the test was necessary because of the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the globe. He said the health status of the four accused persons must be ascertained in order not to infect other inmates at the facility.
Magistrate Victoria Bob-Manuel, in her ruling, granted the prayers of the prosecuting counsel and remanded the accused at Owo Correctional facility. She also ordered that their samples must be tested before being remanded at the centre.
Bob-Manuel, however, disclosed that the court lacks the jurisdiction to try the defendants but adjourned the case to June 3, for the advice of the Director of Public Prosecution.