The Maryland Ritual Murders

Maryland County 1977

President Tolbert was angry. At least he appeared to be. More than ten persons had been missing in ritual killings in Maryland County and his personal representative, the County's Superintendent had not reported anything. Worse, he even had received a message that the Superintendent, the highest public official in the county, had obstructed the work of policemen investigating these murders, which evidently were ritual murders since all victims' bodies had several parts missing when found. Subsequently, and at various occasions, President Tolbert made it very clear: 'I cannot tolerate this!' He knew what had happened and still Click to supersize happened in the country. He knew that the ritual murders in Maryland County were not the only ones in the country. Reports had reached him that they occurred in various parts of the country. In fact all regions, from Maryland in the east to Cape Mount in the west, but also in Lofa County, in the northwest of the country, as well as in Nimba, and in Bong, and in Bassa County. President Tolbert seemed determined that this should end. And therefore he declared publicly: "Anyone who kills deliberately: The law will kill that person". 

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Anyone?? 'An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth?' Was the biblical adage now applicable to all convicted murders? Or was something else happening? 

Between mid-July 1977 and mid-February 1979, it seemed as if an earthquake struck the country. People who seemed to be untouchable were accused, arrested, even convicted, and finally executed. This had never happened before in the Republic. The Tubman days were over, when people close to the president and like him from Maryland were set free after being found guilty by a lower court but then set free by a Supreme Court whose Chief Justice also was from Maryland County. 

President Tolbert undoubtedly was a clever man. Tubman had assured the services of a Chief Justice who like him hailed from Maryland. President Tolbert's Chief Justice, James A. Pierre was a member of the Tolbert-clan. His daughter Carmenia was President Tolbert's sister-in-law. She was the wife of one of his brothers, Stephen Tolbert, the powerful Minister of Finance and also a successful businessman. 

President Tolbert decided to act in the wave of Maryland ritualistic killings. Why did the preacher -President do this? Was he sincere in combating the ritual practices or was there something else behind his firm stand: "Anyone who kills deliberately: The law will kill that person"? 

The following narrative of the notorious Maryland ritual killings case is more than the story of a ritual killing. It also is a story of political ambitions and fights. 

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