The Ondo State High Court, sitting in Akure, the state capital, has sentenced three persons to death in connection with the abduction of three reverend sisters.
The trio kidnapped the sisters at Onipetesi area, along the Ore-Lagos highway, in the Odigbo Local Government Area of the state in 2016.
A sum of N1 million was said to have been paid before the victims were released after 11 days that the sisters were in the kidnappers’ den.
Shortly after, seven persons were arrested for the incident, including a couple.
Those arrested were Reuben Akinbehinje, Saheed Oyewo, Seun Lajuwomi, Abimbola Akinbehinje, John Uche, Seun Akintan and Lateef Hammed.
They were arraigned before the court on eight counts of conspiracy, kidnapping, armed robbery, aiding and abetting kidnapping, and accessory. But one of the defendants, Saheed Oyewo, reportedly died while the trial was ongoing, Punch reports.
After several court proceedings and series of arguments from the prosecuting and defence counsels, the trial judge, Justice Ademola Adegoroye, said the prosecution proved the case of conspiracy, armed robbery and kidnapping against three defendants – Reuben Akinbehinje, Seun Lajuwomi and John Uche, beyond a reasonable doubt.
He found them guilty of the offence and sentenced them to death by hanging.
However, the judge said the prosecution could not produce any evidence against Seun Akintan and Lateef Hameed.
He ordered them to be discharged and acquitted.
Abimbola Akinbehinje, the wife of one of the convicts, Reuben, was also charged with being an accessory in the matter.
She was fined N50, 000.