A 75-year-old man, Emmanuel Tetteh, who was wrongly sentenced to death for murder has been finally released from prison after 33 years.
Tetteh, Tengey [who was the murder suspect], and one Grumah who was also innocent, were jailed together.
According to Tengey, Tetteh and Grumah were innocent of the crime but he accused them of being his accomplices in the murder case when he was being tortured by the police to name his accomplices.
“I was tortured by police officers at gunpoint to name my accomplices. I could not withstand it so initially, the name that came to my mind was Tetteh. The beatings did not stop so I mentioned Gruma’s name too as another accomplice. They arrested him too and they arraigned us before court. I regret my actions and I ask for forgiveness,” he pleaded.
Despite heavy protestations from Tetteh and Grumah that they knew absolutely nothing about the case, they were still sentenced to death with Tengey after police investigations.
In an interview with Tettey, Grumah died out of shock after spending three months in prison.
Tetteh said his sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment.
During a crimecheckghana.org’s interview with Tengey and Tetteh four years ago at the Ankaful Maximum Security Prison, Tengey confessed that his so-called accomplices knew nothing about the murder but he deliberately named them with the hope that he will be spared the torture.
After spending 33 years in prison, Tetteh has been freed through presidential pardon but unfortunately without compensation.
Mr. Tetteh’s sad story did not end after his release as his best friend back in the village in the Western Region has taken over his household and married his wife with whom they now have four children.
He said his wife, when she heard of his return jilted her new husband to come back to him.
“When I was released, I went to the village. Many people thought I was dead so it was difficult for them to believe it was me. They thought I was a ghost. It was after five days, my wife heard I had returned. I did not bother to see her because of what she did. However, she came to see me and I forgave her.”
Background to the story
Mr. Tengey said he was hired by a neighbour to work for him on a payment term.
He claimed the neighbour did not pay him for 10 months and when he demanded what was due him, the neighbour attacked him with a broken bottle.
“I worked for him in his house and did any other job he wanted me to do for him. After 10 months, he sacked me without paying me and when I went to ask for my money he rather attacked me with a broken bottle with which he injured me. There was no nearby police station to report the issue so I could not let go,” he said.
Mr Tengey said three months later, he met his neighbour whom he had worked for on his way to his farm. He said he demanded his money and a misunderstanding ensued between them.
He said during the altercation, he butchered his neighbour with the machete he was holding resulting in his untimely death.
“I was arrested the following day after the incident. At the police station, I was subjected to severe torture, which I could not withstand. The police officers pointed a gun at my head amid the torture to mention the name of my accomplice. I committed the crime alone but they insisted that I did it with somebody. I only saw Tetteh when he came to visit the man I had worked for to collect a refund of his money. His name came to my mind so I mentioned it to them,” he recounted.
Tetteh, Tengey, and Grumah who was later named as an accomplice were sentenced to death by hanging in 1988.