Friday, February 19, 2010

Ghanian immigrant gets 20 to 40 years for murder of wife in front of their 7 year old child

A Ghanian immigrant was sentenced to 20-40 years for strangling his wife and leaving her 7 year old son to find his mother's body by Allegany County, PA Common Pleas Judge Kathleen A. Durkin. Jude Agbley, 35 and of Forest hills, a suburb of Pittsburgh, was handed the maximum for the 3rd degree murder of his wife Brenda Agbley, 40 because "It's an especially traumatic situation for the child to see his mother [killed]."

In a victim impact statement, Corey Gibson, the 7 year old son of the victim, said "Keep Jude in jail for life. I wish my dad hadn't done what he did to my mom. I am still angry at my dad, Jude, and I will miss him."

Heather Lorigan, the 23 year old daughter of the victim, and Corey's half sister, said that Agbley should be imprisoned for life - something which is mandatory in Pennsylvania only for 1st and 2nd degree murder.

For Lorigan and her family, her mother's death was the second tragedy to strike. Eight months earlier in May 2008, two people attacked Heather and her father, Thomas Lorigan, in Greenville in Mercer County. Thomas Lorigan died in the attack and Heather, who was stabbed in the head, now uses a wheelchair.

The victim's mother, 61 year old Marilyn Allen, said Agbley's murder of her daughter compounded her family's tragedy. "We had just gone through all of that eight months earlier and Jude knew that," she said.

Mrs. Agbley was found dead on the living room couch in her Ogden Avenue home by her son. A week later, immigration agents captured Mr. Agbley at a Greyhound bus station in Detroit. Detectives found 14 threatening text messages on Mrs. Agbley's cell phone, sent from a number listed in her directory as "Jude." The text messages suggested that Mr. Agbley believed his wife was cheating on him.

Agbley was facing outstanding burglary charges and a failure to appear warrant on them dating from 2003, and ICE agents issued a deportation order for him the following year. He apologized to the victim's family, saying "I deeply regret this unfortunate incident. I pray for Brenda every day and I hope that she can find peace and comfort."

However, Assistant District Attorney Mike Sullivan pointed to the brutality and callousness of the crime in explaining why he believed Agbley's "remorse" was an act. "He leaves the body on the couch and doesn't call police. He leaves an 8-year-old boy alone. The remorse Mr. Agbley is attempting to express is nothing more than a ruse."

No comments: