The suspected killers of Ms Julie Diane Williams, an American Strip Dancer, have been granted GH100,000 bail with two sureties by an Accra Magistrate Court.
Justification is required for one of the sureties. The hearing has been rescheduled for January 25, 2022.
Bright Udiagbe alias Big Slim, a businessman, Susan Azor, a merchant, Gideon Kwaofio, a receptionist, George Ntsor, a gardener, and Odoi Laryea, a security officer, are among the suspects.
The court, presided over by Justice Stephen Tabiri, granted bail to the suspects, stating that the evidence did not support the allegations.
Initially, Prosecutor Police Chief Inspector Lawrence Anane urged that the Court deny them bail.
He said that the prosecution is still conducting its investigation and may obtain further evidence as time passes, and therefore the accused people would interfere with the inquiry.
Defendants’ lawyers said that the facts did not support the allegations against them and that the evidence demonstrated that they are unrelated to the crime at all.
They implored the Court to use its discretion and grant bail to the defendants, stating that they would face trial at any juncture.
Mr. Robertson Kpatsa, Bright and Susan’s attorney, said in court that one of his clients paid for the autopsy report and other police reports.
Additionally, he said that the accused paid the hotel bills for the days the dead remained there.
According to Chief Inspector Anane, the deceased was a 37-year-old American Strip Dancer.
According to him, Bright is a 47-year-old investor in the hotel and entertainment industries.
According to the prosecution, the defendant operated a hotel, restaurants, and nightclubs in Nigeria and Ghana, while Susan, 32, is a merchant and Bright employee.
He said that Gideon, 31, is the hotel’s cook and receptionist, George, 35, is the hotel’s gardener, and Odoi is the hotel’s security guard.
Chief Inspector Anane said that the dead and Bright had worked together for five years.
He said that in December 2017, the deceased and two other American girls identified as Sky and Diana, both of whom were Strip Dancers, were introduced to Bright in Lagos-Nigeria by a friend identified as Williams, aka DAPO, who urged Bright hire them at his Firefox night club in Lagos.
According to the prosecution, the three Strip Dancers, including the dead, worked for Bright for four weeks on a commission basis at his Firefox nightclub in Lagos, Nigeria, but returned to the United States of America after the Christmas celebrations.
He said that in December 2018, Bright invited the deceased back to Lagos to work for him, and she returned to the United States of America after the celebrations.
According to the Prosecution, because of the Covid-19 limits in 2019 and 2020, Bright did not invite the deceased as usual but instead asked him to Nigeria in November 2021 to work for him.
The corpse arrived in Nigeria on November 26, 2021, when Bright was in Ghana promoting the formal opening of Accra’s Tunnel Lounge restaurant and Firefox Night Club.
He said that the deceased was invited to Ghana by Bright to assist him in opening his new lounge and restaurant in Ghana after working for approximately a week in Bright’s nightclub in Nigeria. On December 3, 2021, the dead landed in Ghana on a single-entry Nigerian visa. At the Kotoka International Airport, she tested positive for COVID-19 and was placed in isolation at the Ave Maria hotel in South Legon.
On December 6, 2021, Bright picked up the deceased from the Isolation Centre after he tested negative for Covid-19.
He said that Bright sent money to Susan on the same day to reserve a lodge for the deceased. Thus, she escorted the deceased to the RAYPORSH hotel in Accra, which is situated in the neighbourhood where she resided.
The prosecution said that the deceased stayed at the hotel for a week and checked out at 12 p.m. on December 12, 2021, in order to return to Nigeria but was unable to do so due to visa complications.
He said that the deceased returned to the hotel the next day at about 2:00 p.m. and booked into the same room on December 13, 2021. Gideon said that the deceased was not given breakfast because she did not answer visits to her room.
Chief Inspector Anane said that no one checked on the dead during the day, despite the fact that she had not left her room. On December 14, 2021, at around 7:30 a.m., the hotel employees attempted to give the deceased breakfast numerous times but received no answer.
The management examined the door and discovered it was unlocked; they entered the room and discovered the deceased motionless on the bed; they immediately notified the authorities. He said that a team of investigators hurried to the hotel and transported the body to the Police hospital, where she was declared dead upon arrival by the on-duty medical personnel.
The body was preserved and autopsied in the Police Hospital Morgue. On December 29, C/Supt. /Dr. Osei Owusu Afriyie, the Police Pathologist, did a post mortem examination on the deceased’s corpse and determined that the cause of death was unnatural. However, toxicology and histopathology studies are pending to determine the real cause of death.
He said that based on the pathologist’s spoken post mortem report, the five individuals who were strongly suspected of involvement in the strip dancer’s murder were apprehended. The investigation is underway.