Uduak Frank Akpan, the first accused person in the murder of Iniubong Umoren, a job seeker in Akwa Ibom State has made a u-turn, pleading not guilty to the case.
Akpan is standing trial over the murder of Umoren, a graduate of Philosophy, University of Uyo whom he allegedly lured, raped and murdered under the guise of offering her a job.
It could be recalled that Akpan, the prime suspect had at the beginning of the trial by Justice Bennett Illaumoh pleaded guilty to killing late Ms Umoren.
The court now presided over by Justice Bassey Nkanang has begun the de novo trial and Akpan who appeared before the court alongside the 2nd accused (his father) and 3rd accused (Sister) made a u-turn and pleaded not guilty to the two-count charges of murder and rape preferred against him.
His father, Frank Akpan and his sister, Anwan Bassey Akpan respectively pleaded not guilty to the charge of accessory before the fact and obstructing arrest.
The plea came even as the chairman of Uruan local government area, Surveyor Iniobong Ekpeyong and one Kufre Effiong who were given witness summon appeared and gave evidence in court.
Giving his evidence before the court, the local government chairman who is the first prosecution witness told the court how he facilitated the arrest of the first accused who incidentally is his cousin.
He told the court that 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 corners asking him to intervene because the second accused person, Frank Akpan, a retired deputy director in the Federal Ministry of Health was sick and needed urgent medical treatment.
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 an accelerated hearing with a view to passing judgement before Easter, 2022.