Four suspects including policeman Fredrick Leliman, have been found guilty of killing lawyer Wille Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and driver Joseph Muiruri in 2016.
High Court judge Jessie Lesiit, in a ruling made on Friday morning, found all the accused guilty of the gruesome murder of the three, bringing to a close the case which started in late 2016.
In his ruling, Justice Lesiit found police officers Fredrick Ole Leliman, Stephen Morogo, Sylvia Wanjohi, and police informant Peter Ngugi guilty of three counts of murder. He acquitted the fourth suspect in the case police officer Leonard Mwangi.
The late Willie Kimani was representing his client Josephat Mwenda in court, in an assault case involving police officer Fredrick Leliman stationed at Syokimau Administration Police Camp. Leliman had reportedly shot Josephat in the right arm.
The court ruled that Fredrick ole Leliman had the motive to murder the three based on police radio tracking evidence.
Justice Lessit ruled that the 3rd accused person, Sylvia Wanjohi, was at the Syokimau Police Post from 9am to past 7pm when the three deceased persons were alive in the cells.
“The burden shifted to the 3rd accused to explain how the deceased were held at the post while she was on duty without entry to the OB, how they were placed in the cells and later removed while she had custody of the keys to the cells. Instead of explaining these facts she decided to deny and mislead,” Justice Lessit said in his ruling.
The prosecution produced in court 46 witnesses to testify against the accused persons who in their defence brought forth 36 witnesses to defend them from the charges.
Lawyer Willie Kimani, his client Mwenda and the taxi driver were abducted after leaving Mavoko Law Courts in Machakos County on June 23, 2016, where Mwenda had filed a case against the police officer.
“How we abducted and killed lawyer Willy Kimani”
The ex-police informer, Peter Ngugi, had in 2019 given an account of how they killed the three in a recorded statement that was read in court.
According to a written statement by the informer, four police officers from Mlolongo Administration Police post, planned and executed the murder of the three gentlemen. He further singles out police officer Fredrick Leliman as the mastermind of the murder, saying he suffocated the victims with a polythene bag and strangled them with a rope, before dumping their bodies in a river.
According to Ngugi, Leliman wanted Josephat Mwenda dead over a case he had lodged with the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) after he (Leliman) shot him on the leg.
“He (Leliman) told me that there was a case that was bothering him. He revealed to me that he had previously shot and injured a person, and that injured man was really pushing for his dismissal and was being assisted by the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) in the case,” Ngugi said in the statement.
Ngugi further stated that his role was to monitor Mwenda’s movements on the day he and his lawyer Willie Kimani and their taxi driver were abducted after attending a court session at the Milimani law courts.
“The case took like two hours and I remained outside all through until when the wanted man came out. When he came out he was accompanied by another man (lawyer). I called Leliman and he told me that the other man was also a thief and was together with the wanted man,” he further states.
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