The National- Monday, January 24, 2011
By JAMES APA GUMUNO
A MOTHER of four who killed all her children by drowning them in Kum River near Mt Hagen did not show any remorse, or cried in the court room, when she was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Elis Onda, 30, from Kuia village located north of Mt Hagen city sat very quietly in the defendant’s box, listening to the resident judge Justice Allan David read his written judgment.
Her husband was not present in the court room Wednesday afternoon; he is reportedly based in Port Moresby.
About 12 people sat in the public gallery to hear the judgment.
One of the women broke into tears when David called the names of the deceased and their ages during the course of his reading the entire judgment.
Onda committed the crime on July 4, 2009, at Warakum where she killed her three daughters and a son by drowning them in the river.
The deceased were, Angeline, aged eight; Tresy, seven; Naomi, five; and Solomon, two.
She sat in silence until David completed reading his judgment and the court interpreter translated the judgment to the local Melpa dialect before the court was adjourned and she was escorted back into a prison van and back to Baisu jail.
Prosecutor Joe Kesan submitted he was not pressing for the death penalty; he said the National Court imposed death penalty even on a guilty plea, citing a 2004 sentence. He said it was the court’s discretion in this case to consider death penalty.
Kesan said in his submission that four innocent children intentionally killed by drowning by their mother fell within the worst category of wilful murder cases.
He said killing through drowning was unprecedented and rare because murder cases usually involved weapons.
Kesan said that he was not pressing for death penalty because of the prisoner’s pleas of guilty and the marital problems she was going through with her husband.
Defence counsel William Kapi also submitted to the court to consider life imprisonment because Onda voluntarily surrendered to police, cooperated by making admissions to the killing at the earliest opportunity, entered guilty pleas to all counts of wilful murder, she was a first time offender and had no prior conviction and no weapons were used.
He said the prisoner acted in a situation where she could not put up with the marital problems she was going through with her husband.
David said he considered imposing death sentence but having considered all of the mentioned factors it would not be just and appropriate to do so.
Consequently, he sentenced Onda to life imprisonment.