An alleged Port Harcourt serial killer, Gracious West, has pleaded guilty to killing nine women in different hotels, during his trial at the state high court on Tuesday.
This platform understands that West was arrested in September and had confessed to killing seven girls; five in Port Harcourt; one in Owerri, Imo state capital and another in Lagos state.
West had first appeared before the judge, Adolphus Enebeli,on Monday, without a lawyer representing him.
He, however, pleaded not guilty to attempting to kill his last victim but said he only tied her to a chair and left the hotel room.
Speaking with newsmen outside the courtroom, the prosecuting counsel, Gladys Imegwu, said it was in the best interest of the state for the ministry of justice to take over the prosecution of West.
She said “The court actually ruled on the application of the lawyer from the ministry of justice through the office of the director of public prosecutions, who made an application to take over the case.”
On her part, the principal state counsel from the DPP office, Chidi Ekeh, , said the move was to ensure that justice prevails.
“We consider this case a very sensitive one, because of the fact that most of the nine victims were killed in Rivers state; so, we want to send a message to Rivers residents that lives are valued and that such an offence cannot be toyed with,” he said.
The defendant’s lawyer, Vincent Chukwu, however said: “The offence in question is a capital offence; whether my client did it or not, the presumption is that the prosecution must still prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
“So, it is not for the defendant to just say I am guilty and liable and it ends there, Because the punishment is death, the burden is now on the prosecution to go ahead and prove its case.”
The judge ordered that the defendant be remanded in a correctional centre and adjourned the matter until November 18.