The first accused person in the murder of Iniubong Umoren, one Uduak Akpan, a 20-year-old undergraduate on Thursday made a U-turn, pleading not guilty to the two-count charge of murder and rape preferred against him by Akwa Ibom State.
Uduak Akpan is standing trial in court over the gruesome murder of Iniubong Umoren, a graduate of Philosophy, University of Uyo, whom he lured, raped and murdered on April 29, this year under the pretext of offering her a job
The first accused had, in July, pleaded guilty to murder when he was first arraigned before Justice Bennett Illaumoh, who has been transferred from Uyo to Itu Judicial Division.
His father and second accused person, Frank Akpan, a retired Deputy Director, Federal Ministry of Health, and his sister and third accused, Bassey Anwan Akpan, a graduate of English Language and Literary Studies, respectively pleaded not guilty to the two-count of accessory after the fact and harbouring of the first accused in order to escape punishment knowing that he murdered Iniubong Umoren.
The plea before the new trial judge, Justice Bassey Nkanang, came as the Chairman of Uruan Local Government of the state, Surveyor Iniobong Ekpeyong and his cousin, Kufre Effiong who are prosecution witnesses in the matter, gave evidence in Court.
Surveyor Ekpenyong told the Court his role in facilitating the arrest of the first accused, who incidentally is his cousin.
He said he learnt about the murder of Iniubong Umoren when his attention was drawn to a social media post that the second accused, and father of the first accused, Mr Frank Akpan had been arrested by the police.
Ekpenyong said he received calls from various quarters asking him to intervene because the second accused person, had an ailment that needed urgent medication.
According to the chairman he called one of his cousins, one Kufre Effiong and the DPO 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.
Trial judge, Justice Bassey Nkanang who adjourned the case to Monday, November 15, 2021, promised to give accelerated hearing with a view to passing judgement before Easter, 2022.