Uduak Akpan, the suspected killer of Iniobong Umoren, the Akwa Ibom job seeker, has reversed his stance and pleaded “not guilty” to a two-count charge of murder and rape levelled against him on Thursday.
The suspect, 20, a 200-level Public Administration student of Obong University, is accused of luring, raping and killing Umoren, a graduate of philosophy of the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, in April 2021.
Akpan, who is the first accused, had in July pleaded guilty to murder when he was first arraigned before Justice Benneth Illaumo of the Akwa Ibom State High Court.
He had pleaded “guilty” to the murder charge when the charges were read to him during the arraignment in July.
He, however, pleaded “not guilty” to the second charge bordering on rape.
But in a surprise twist, Akpan pleaded not guilty before Justice Bassey Nkanang, the trial judge, on Thursday.
Chairman of Uruan Local Government of the state, Iniobong Ekpeyong, who is a prosecution witness, told the court of how he, who is coincidentally an uncle to Umoren, facilitated the arrest of the suspect by law enforcement officials.
According to Ekpeyong, he learnt about the murder of Umoren when his attention was drawn to a social media post that the second accused, and father of the first accused, Frank Akpan had been arrested by the police.
The chairman said he called one of his cousins, one Kufre Effiong, who is also a prosecution witness, and the Divisional Police Officer of Uruan LGA, who converged at his Ewet Housing residence, where the first accused person admitted killing the jobseeker by hitting her with an object.
The second and third accused, Bassey Anwan Akpan, the suspect’s sister, who is a graduate of English Language and Literary Studies, respectively pleaded not guilty to the two-count of accessory.
Justice Nkanang adjourned the case to Monday, November 15, 2021, for continuation of hearing.