Justice Raliat Adebiyi of a Lagos High Court sentenced a man, Katungi Phillips, to death for stabbing his wife, Justina James, to death for allegedly infecting him with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The judge sentenced him for being guilty of a charge of murder brought against him by the state government
While delivering judgment, Justice Adebiyi said the prosecution was able to prove cogent circumstantial evidence that the defendant intended to kill the deceased. She said: “In view of the mandatory sentence for murder in Section 221 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011. You, Katungi Phillips, is hereby sentenced to death, may the Lord has mercy on your soul.”
Before the sentence, the prosecution counsel, Mrs. O.R. Ahmed-Muili, said the convict committed the offence at 3:21a.m. on July 26, 2014 at his residence in Pako House, Oniru, Lagos. She told the court that the convict had been married to Justina for two years but stabbed her all over her body with a kitchen knife after discovering that she had infected him with HIV.
“After discovering that she had infected him with the virus, the deceased allegedly wanted to leave him for another man. He stabbed his wife with a kitchen knife during the ensuing argument and he also attempted to kill himself by stabbing himself in the abdomen with the same knife.”
During trial after the convicted was arraigned on February 8, 2016, the prosecution called four witnesses; three police officers and the sister of the deceased. One of the witnesses, Inspector Alexander Onoja, who investigated the matter, told the court that the defendant confessed to the police to have stabbed his wife.
He said: “The suspect confessed that he murdered his wife because he discovered they were both HIV positive and he was infected through her. He alleged that she informed him that she was leaving him for another man.”
He further told the court that when his team visited the scene, Justina’s body was in a pool of her blood, lifeless while, Phillips was laying beside her body with a knife wound to his abdomen and “his intestines hanging out”.
In his defense, Philips told the court he was angry, adding that his wife was stabbed while they were arguing over his missing mobile phone. “We were arguing over my missing phone, she stabbed me with the kitchen knife, I grabbed the knife from her hands and stabbed her once.”The judge rejected the convict’s defense of provocation, saying the multiple stab wounds inflicted on the deceased were excessive in comparison to the single stab wound the convict sustained.