A High Court in Accra has sentenced a 22-year-old man, Yaw Anokye, to death by hanging for the gruesome murder of two African-American women at Akwamufie in the Asuogyaman District of the Eastern Region, in May 2015.
Yaw Anokye was found guilty by a seven-member jury after he had confessed to killing the two women in their 70s.
Delivering her judgment, the Judge, Justice Merley Afua Wood, asked God to have mercy on the soul of the accused as he was about to face death.
The two deceased persons, Mane Lena, 75, and 69-year-old Diop Nzanga, were kidnapped, murdered and buried in a shallow grave in 2015.
Police in Akosombo found the bodies of the two after they were reported to have gone missing.
Their bodies were exhumed after Acting President of the Akwamu Traditional Council dispatched over 70 people to complement a police search for the two when it became apparent they had gone missing.
About the two women
The two, who dealt in batik and tie-dye, had lived in a small settlement near Akwamufie for more than 18 years.
At the time, no reasons were assigned for the murder of the two expatriates, but some linked it to some community disagreement rooted in chieftaincy matters.
The Omanhene of the Akwamu Traditional Area, Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III, expressed shock at the murder of the two American women.
He said Akwamus had over the years lived with many strangers and settlers, including foreigners, on their land, without any problem.
According to the Daily Graphic, during the committal proceedings at the Accra Central District Court, Frimpong confessed to single-handedly clubbing the two women to death.
The five other accused persons were later discharged.
Frimpong repeated his confession at the Accra High Court during the trial, but stated that it was never his intention to kill them but that his intention was to steal from them.
According to him, he killed for fear of being exposed when they found him stealing in Madam Diop’s room.
Per his testimony, Frimpong went to the apartment to steal, but in the course of the act, Madam Diop returned home and caught him in the act.
Consequently, he struggled with her, overpowered her and tied her hands and also covered her mouth with a piece of cloth, after which he went home.
But out of fear of being exposed by his victim, he returned to the house with a club with the intention of killing her and met Madam Jaana in the apartment.
Frimpong told the court that he hit the two women repeatedly with the club and after killing them, and conveyed their bodies in a wheelbarrow to a nearby farm, dug a shallow grave and buried their bodies.
After the act, he stole GH¢156 from Madam Diop’s room, went to town and drunk alcohol in order to forget about what had happened.
After the jury’s verdict last Wednesday, Frimpong was given an opportunity to make a statement before the court delivered its sentence.
He informed the court that he had committed other crimes which the police were currently investigating and said those crimes were haunting him.
“These crimes are haunting me because I know I committed them,’’ he said.
He prayed the court to have mercy on him because he had not intentionally killed the two women.
On death penalty in Ghana
The last time the Ghana recorded an execution of a convict, was in 1993, when then-president John Rawlings ordered the execution of 12 convicts via a firing squad.
According to Amnesty International Ghana, as at September 2016, there were 137 prisoners on death row, who have not been executed. As a result, many have pushed for Ghana to do away with the death penalty from Ghana’s legal system since it is not enforced.
Those opposed against the death penalty have argued that it is not the right punishment for a convicted murderer but retributive.
Death penalty has been in the country’s statute books since the application of the English common law in 1874, but in practice, no execution has been recorded since July 1993.
According to the proponents, much as the sentence may be seen in a wider sense as fairness, it doesn’t deter people from committing such crimes.