Liberia’s renowned former chief justice and justice minister, Gloria Maya Musu-Scott, has been handed a life sentence for the brutal murder of her niece, Charloe Musu. Once a prominent figure in Liberian judiciary and politics, Musu-Scott, 70, faces imprisonment as she aims to challenge the verdict through an appeal process.
The conviction was delivered by a judge following a jury’s decision, which found Musu-Scott guilty of orchestrating the intentional and malicious infliction of severe bodily injuries on her 29-year-old niece last June. The victim had sustained wounds to her chest, right hand, left thigh, and left armpit, inflicted with a sharp instrument believed to be a knife.
During the trial, Musu-Scott maintained her innocence, claiming that Charloe Musu was killed by an unknown assailant who entered her home in the capital, Monrovia. The shocking arrest and subsequent trial garnered widespread attention in Liberia, especially given Musu-Scott’s standing as a champion of women’s rights and her role in President-elect Joseph Boakai’s political party.
As a key member of Boakai’s political party, Musu-Scott played an important role in the legal team that successfully challenged the election commission’s decision to withhold access to the voters’ roll in the lead-up to the December presidential election.
The sentencing was an emotional moment for relatives, friends, and supporters, with tears reportedly flowing in the courtroom as Judge Roosevelt Z. Willie delivered the verdict. Three other women, aged 80, 36, and 20, were also sentenced in connection with the murder.
Musu-Scott’s legal team, led by lawyer Augustine Fayiah, intends to file an appeal in the coming days. Fayiah stated that the appeal would highlight alleged errors in the judge’s decisions and contend that the jurors were influenced by justice ministry officials, compromising their independence.
Gloria Maya Musu-Scott served as Liberia’s justice minister and later as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court until her retirement in 2003. She transitioned to politics and was a lawmaker in Maryland County until 2012. In 2012, she was appointed the chairperson of the Constitutional Review Committee, as Liberia aimed to strengthen democracy and governance following a history of authoritarian rule and conflicts.