Thursday, 8 June 2017

Nigerian in the US gets life sentence for the murder of a woman in Hollywood

A 32-year-old Nigerian man was on Monday, June 5th, sentenced to life in prison without parole for the 2015 murder of a 30-year-old woman on a Hollywood sidewalk.

Ezeoma Chigozie Obioha received the sentence after tearful statements were read by the victim's relatives in court. He was convicted last December for fatally shooting Carrie Melvin. The two had worked together.
Bernard Melvin, Carrie's father, spoke about how hard it's been on his family to lose Carrie.
"I have held my wife often as she cried herself to sleep. On several occasions, she has yelled herself hoarse, screaming at the individual person who did this," he said. "I feel as though I have lost a limb. I have tried to answer my family's questions, but how do you explain a completely senseless act?" We cry every day"

At one point during the trial, Obioha's sister, Nkechi Howell, told the court, "Judge, you are sending an innocent man to prison" before rushing out of the courtroom, followed by court bailiffs.

On July 5, 2015, 30-year-old Carrie was killed by a man who fired a shotgun blast at her face as she walked with her boyfriend to a Thai restaurant on Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood.

In addition to life without parole, Obioha also received an additional 25 years to life for the special allegation that the murder was committed for financial gain.

Prosecutors won the case based on evidence that Obioha owed Carrie more than $1,600 for social media work she had done to promote his company. They also portrayed him as a man with a crush that Carrie did not reciprocate.
Prosecutors alleged that Obioha acted after Melvin spurned his romantic interest in her and then filed a complaint with state officials alleging that he owed her more than $1,000 for work she had done marketing his clothing line on social media.
"So many people, my family's lives, will never be the same because a weak-minded, cowardly, insecure, spoiled boy can't take rejection," Carrie's brother, Ryan Melvin, said.
Obioha and his family still contend that he is the wrong person going to prison, claiming someone else killed Carrie.

"He's dedicated his life to protecting his community and his family. He's a college graduate and an Army veteran. The jury saw none of those things," Igbo Obioha, the defendant's brother, said.

Bernard had one last message for the convicted killer.
"Accept your guilt and the consequences. You know you did it," he said.
Obioha's attorney said they plan to appeal the sentencing, and they have 60 days to do so.
Read full story here.

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