A High Court in Accra has sentenced a 22-year-old man, Yaw Anokye, to death by hanging for the gruesome murder of two African-American women at Akwamufie in the Asuogyaman District of the Eastern Region, in May 2015.
Yaw Anokye was found guilty by a seven-member jury after he had confessed to killing the two women in their 70s.
Delivering her judgment, the Judge, Justice Merley Afua Wood, asked God to have mercy on the soul of the accused as he was about to face death.
The two deceased persons, Mane Lena, 75, and 69-year-old Diop Nzanga, were kidnapped, murdered and buried in a shallow grave in 2015.
Police in Akosombo found the bodies of the two after they were reported to have gone missing.
Their bodies were exhumed after Acting President of the Akwamu Traditional Council dispatched over 70 people to complement a police search for the two when it became apparent they had gone missing.
About the two women
The two, who dealt in batik and tie-dye, had lived in a small settlement near Akwamufie for more than 18 years.
At the time, no reasons were assigned for the murder of the two expatriates, but some linked it to some community disagreement rooted in chieftaincy matters.
The Omanhene of the Akwamu Traditional Area, Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III, expressed shock at the murder of the two American women.
He said Akwamus had over the years lived with many strangers and settlers, including foreigners, on their land, without any problem.
On death penalty in Ghana
The last time the Ghana recorded an execution of a convict, was in 1993, when then-president John Rawlings ordered the execution of 12 convicts via a firing squad.
According to Amnesty International Ghana, as at September 2016, there were 137 prisoners on death row, who have not been executed. As a result, many have pushed for Ghana to do away with the death penalty from Ghana’s legal system since it is not enforced.
Those opposed against the death penalty have argued that it is not the right punishment for a convicted murderer but retributive.
Death penalty has been in the country’s statute books since the application of the English common law in 1874, but in practice, no execution has been recorded since July 1993.
According to the proponents, much as the sentence may be seen in a wider sense as fairness, it doesn’t deter people from committing such crimes.