The Osun State High Court has sentenced the owner of Hilton Hotel and Resort, Ile-Ife, Abdulrahman Adedoyin, to death by hanging over the murder of a post-graduate student of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Timothy Adegoke.
The hotelier was sentenced to death alongside two others found guilty of murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
Mr Adegoke, a Business Administration (MBA) student, travelled from Abuja to Ile-Ife to sit for his examination. He lodged in the hotel, where he hoped to stay out the period of the examinations but was declared missing by the police on 7 November 2021.
A few days later, the Osun State Police command released a statement disclosing that the 37-year-old student had been found dead. The details of the circumstances of his death were not disclosed in the statement.
While the hotel owner and three others were sentenced to death, three other staff members of the hotel, namely; Magdalene Chiefuna, Lawrence Oluwole and Adedeji Adesola, were discharged and acquitted by the court.
The court also slated the judgement for the sixth staff for Wednesday.
Mr Adedoyin, chairman of the hotel, was charged alongside six of his staff; Magdalene Chiefuna, Adeniyi Aderogba, Oluwole Lawrence, Oyetunde Kazeem, Adebayo Kunle and Adedeji Adesola.
The defendants faced an 18-count charge of murder, conspiracy, and oath of secrecy.
While delivering her judgement on the case, the Chief Judge of Osun State, Adepele Ojo, held that the circumstantial evidence available to the court pointed to the killing of Mr Adegoke while being a guest at the hotel owned by Mr Adedoyin.
The judge added that Mr Adedoyin’s decision not to enter the witness box did not help him, as the circumstantial evidence had shifted the burden of proof on him.