Joshua Usulor, a chef who murdered a lawyer, Mrs Feyisayo Obot at Citi-heights Hotel, Opebi, Lagos State, on January 26, 2019, has been convicted and sentenced to 28 years imprisonment.
The presiding judge, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of a Special Offences Court, sentenced the convict after he changed his plea from not guilty to guilty.
Usulor had entered a plea bargain agreement with Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecution, DPP.
The DPP had in the agreement approved a term of 21 years imprisonment which would begin from the date of Usulor’s remand.
However, the judge rejected the proposed prison term, saying that it was too lenient.
The judge said 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.
She eventually reduced Usulor’s prison sentence to 28 years following a plea for leniency by his counsel, Mr Spurgeon Ataene.
In the plea, Mr. Ataene told the court to temper justice with mercy noting that Usulor has regretted his actions and that he was a young man with a promising future.
While sentencing Usulor, Justice Taiwo asked 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.
The prosecution led by Mrs O.A. Bajulaiye-Bishi had said Usulor, a resident of Number 30, Fadiya Street, Ketu, Lagos, went into the lawyer’s hotel room where both of them lodged in different rooms, to rob her to offset his outstanding hotel bills.
The deceased, Mrs Feyisayo Obot, an employee of an Abuja-based non-governmental organisation, “Save the Children”, was in Lagos to write a project management examination.
She was killed on the day she was due to leave the hotel.
The prosecution was still presenting witnesses in the case when Usulor proposed a plea bargain agreement.
Prosecution witnesses who testified during the trial were, the Citi-heights hotel receptionist, Ms Lateefat Adebayo; the hotel’s Operations Manager, Mr Olabanji Ibitunde; brother of the deceased, Mr Ige Afolabi; and the Investigating Police Officer, Inspector John Babalola.