Death sentence reduced for hired killer

A man from Ferguson Islands in Milne Bay Province who was sentenced to death by hanging in 2007 for killing a woman he had accused of sorcery, will now serve life in prison.

A five man Supreme Court bench quashed the death sentence against Lota today and substituted it with life in prison.

The court found the trial judges’ sentence was excessive.

Sedoki Lota of Salakahadi village Ferguson island, was 22 years old when he was sentenced to death by hanging on October 1 2007, by the Alotau National Court.

He pleaded guilty to killing a Marcia Kedarossi of Nade village; a woman he had suspected of killing 19 people through sorcery.

Lota was hired for K1,500, two bagis, a traditional arm band and shell money.

He and his co-accused, Fred Abenko who died in 2015 while in prison, struck the deceased while she was blindfolded on July 9 2005.

Today the Supreme Court heard his appeal against sentence in 2016 and said the trial judge made an error in giving death sentence.

The hired killer, although not a professional hit-man, killed for a reason but the price tag was not high.

Chief Justice, Sir Salamo Injia said those three important factors were not taken into consideration by the trial judge.

Lota’s death penalty has been quahed. He will now serve life in prison.

Sally Pokiton