Man Stabs 22-Year-Old to Death in Fight Over Clotheslines

PLEEBO, Maryland – Police in Pleebo have arrested Morris Smith, aged 18, for stabbing the 22-year-old John Bedell to death during a frivolous argument.

The incident took place during the morning hours of Tuesday, September 18, 2018 at 8:35 a.m., according to community members who were witnesses.

Speaking to The Bush Chicken and police officers in Pleebo, Smith admitted to stabbing his colleague. However, he said he regrets his action and asked for mercy.

Two bystanders who witnessed the scuffle, Oretha Hne and Collins Wesseh, said the fighting started with an argument about clotheslines. Smith had finished washing clothes and wanted to hang them on the clothesline.

However, according to the eyewitnesses, he got into an altercation with Bedell, who wanted to hang his clothes on the same lines. Hne and Wesseh said when the men started fighting, the eyewitnesses tried to persuade them to stop, but the men were not listening. The fighting resulted in Bedell’s injury and subsequent death.

After Smith murdered Bedell, he had to be rescued from an angry crowd by the Emergency Response Unit of the Liberia National Police. The crowd almost beat him to death, and he was later taken to Harper because the angry crowd barricaded the police station, demanding that Smith be turned over to them.

Morris Smith (pictured) was charged with murdering John Bedell in Pleebo. Photo: Johnny Nagbe

Police told The Bush Chicken that Morris had attempted committing suicide while held in jail. He is awaiting court trial at the Harper Central Prison and has been charged with murder.

Police revealed that Smith has past criminal records, as police had a warrant out for his arrest for assaulting a teacher of the O.S. Collins Baptist High School. Smith allegedly assaulted the teacher after he was expelled from the school for misbehaving less than a month into the academic year.

School administrators told The Bush Chicken that Smith had gone to the school to request that his tuition be refunded after he was expelled. When his request was not granted, he beat up one of the teachers, wounding him at the back of his head, and threw stones on top of the school building.

The wounded instructor, Mark Morgan, is undergoing treatment at the Pleebo Health Center.

Police were still searching for Smith when he murdered John Bedell last Tuesday morning.

Speaking to The Bush Chicken, Morgan, the instructor, expressed relief that Smith had been caught by the police.

“I hope the law will give him the rightful punishment because that man is a complete virus in this society,” Morgan said. “Though I am not happy with the fact he killed someone, but the number of years he will stay behind bars added to his present age, the people of this city will have peace of mind.”

Other community members who spoke to The Bush Chicken in the Zone Five community noted that Smith often moved around the community with a knife by his side. They alleged that he frequently used narcotics and that his misbehavior led to his mother fleeing the county.

Meanwhile, the county monitor of the Independent Human Right Commission, Boniface Nyema, condemned the act and called on the justice system to ensure that the alleged perpetrator would have his day in court.

Nyema called on civil society organizations in the county to collectively engage in a massive awareness effort on crimes against humanity across the county, especially in Pleebo, Maryland’s most populous city.

Featured photo by George Momo

George Momo

George Momo is also a reporter for the Liberia Broadcasting System and the president of the Maryland Press Association.

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