An Osun State High Court, on Monday, found popular hotel owner, Dr Ramon Adedoyin, guilty in the murder case of Timothy Adegoke, an ex-Master’s student of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
Adegoke was found dead in November 2021 at Adedoyin’s Hilton Honours Hotel, Ile-Ife, where he (the deceased) had lodged.
In a judgment on Tuesday, the Chief Judge of Osun State, Justice Adepele Ojo, pronounced Adedoyin and two staff members of the hotel guilty of murder.
The judge, in a judgment that lasted over two hours, held that the circumstantial evidence available to the court, pointed to the killing of Adegoke while being a guest at the hotel owned by Adedoyin.
The judge dismissed Adedoyin’s alibi that he was not within the hotel when the late Adegoke lodged there.
Justice Ojo also held that Adedoyin’s decision not to enter the witness box to convince the court that he was innocent, was fatal to his case because the burden of proof had shifted to him.
In the final analysis, the judge said the prosecution proved the charges of conspiracy and unlawful killing pressed against Adedoyin and two of the six workers charged along with him.
The convicted hotel workers are Adeniyi Aderogba and Oyetunde Kazeem.
Along with Adedoyin, the judge sentenced them to death by hanging.
In addition, Justice Ojo held that: “The Hilux van, which was used as part of the instruments for the commission of the crimes for which the defendants have been tried and convicted, is hereby forfeited to the state.
“The hotel premises, which was used by the defendants for the commission of the crimes for which the defendants have been tried and convicted, is hereby forfeited to the state.
“As the victims of crime, the children of the late Timothy, whose breadwinner and benefactor had been gruesomely murdered and snatched away from them in his prime by the defendants, shall be placed under education up to university level at a cost to the 1st, 3rd and 5th defendants.”
The court, however, freed three of the hotel workers, Magdalene Chiefuna, Oluwole Lawrence and Adebayo Kunle.
For the seventh defendant, Adesola Adedeji, who was the receptionist on duty on the day late Adegoke arrived at the hotel, the judge adjourned till today to give her verdict.
The decision to delay her sentencing was sequel to the pleadings by her counsel, Okon Ita, and the prosecutor, Fatima Adesina, who urged the court to be lenient with her, since she was not linked to the death of the deceased and for the fact that she was a first time offender.
The trial judge also declared wanted the manager of Hilton Hotel, Roheem, who is a son to the hotel owner and asked Interpol to fish him out to answer to the charges, for the role he played in Adegoke’s death.
After listening to the pronouncement of the court, Adedoyin, who wore an all-white attire, when given the opportunity to talk, insisted that he had no hand in the killing of Adegoke.
In the charges against the defendants, the prosecution said Adedoyin and others “on or between November 5, 2021, and November 7, 2021, conspired amongst yourselves to unlawfully kill one Timothy Adegoke ‘M’ and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 324 of the Criminal Code, Vol II Cap 34, Laws of Osun State, 2002.”