Most Televised Murder Cases & Convictions in Kenya

Ezra Manyibe | 1 week ago

Over the recent years, Kenya's news headlines have been dominated by some of the most gruesome murders and their subsequent trials that would have one easily mistake them for a television series.

While some of these murders were resolved and perpetrators brought to justice, some are still ongoing in court.

In this article, Now.co.ke compiles some of the murder cases and trials that dominated media headlines in the duration of their determination.

1. Kianjokoma Brothers

The deaths of brothers Benson Njiru, 21, and Emmanuel Mutura, 19, in 2022 shocked the country as members of the public, human rights activists and lobby groups decried the spite of police brutality incidents in the country.

The two brothers were found dead days after they had been arrested at the Kianjokoma trading centre by police officers from the Manyatta Police Station for allegedly flouting Covid-19 guidelines imposed by the government to curb further spread of the virus in the country.

Njiru and Mutura's bodies were discovered at the Embu Referral Hospital on August 3, 2022.

Following the incident, six police officers were arrested in connection to the murders.

Appearing before Justice Daniel Ogembo, the six; Benson Mbuthia, Consolota Kariuki, Nicholas Cheruiyot, Martin Wanyama, Lilian Cherono and James Mwaniki were charged with two counts of murder but pleaded not guilty.

They were later released in September 2022, after Justice Ogembo granted them a cash bail of Ksh300,000 each.

The murder trial is still ongoing and so far, those who have testified in the case include the deceased brothers' parents John Ndwiga and Catherine Gichuki, and their uncle Felix Njagi.

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 former CEO of Philips Electronics East Africa, Tob Cohen is another chilling story that dominated the news waves. The deceased's body was found dumped inside a septic tank at his home in Kitisuru, Spring Valley, Nairobi in September 2019.

The late tycoon, then 71, was reported missing on July 19, 2019  and a report filed with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI). The officers, however, failed to locate him until his decomposing body was discovered in September 2019.

Cohen's wife Sarah Wairimu and businessman Peter Karanja were arrested in connection with the murder. The court heard that the two allegedly committed the murder between July 19 and July 20, 2019.

Appearing before Justice Stellah Mutuku, the two pleaded not guilty and were released on a cash bail of Ksh2 million each.

Wairimu told the court that her husband was killed by well connected people who were enjoying protection from the former government and senior police officers. She claimed to have been in police custody at the time her husband was murdered.

"My husband was murdered by people who wanted to grab our Sh500 million matrimonial home in Kitisuru. They had me arrested on August 28, 2020, then colluded with investigators to implicate me after planting his body in a septic tank while I was in custody," she swore.

On November 30, 2022, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) withdrew the case against Wairimu and her co-accused, advising that an inquest be filed before the Milimani Law Courts.

"This will enable the contradictions that have affected the proceeding of this matter to be heard in detail by all parties. In addition, it will provide an opportunity for parties to present any information that had not been explored substantially before the court," the DPP said.

The court noted that the two had been discharged and not acquitted. They could be charged and sentenced should the inquest find them culpable in Cohen's death.

Cohen's sister Gabriele Van Straten strongly opposed the withdrawal of the case, arguing that the DPP had failed to inform their family of the decision.

5. Former Police Officer Frederick Ole Leliman; charged with the murder of Lawyer Willie Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and driver Joseph Muiruri.

On February 3, 2023, Leliman was handed the death sentence after the court found him guilty in the brutal murders of Lawyer Willie Kimani, Josephat Mwenda, and Joseph Muiruri.

While delivering the verdict, Justice Jessie Lessit ruled that the officer had subverted provisions of the office he held to commit the heinous murders.

Leliman's former colleagues and co-accused Stephen Cheburet Morogo and Sylvia Wanjohi were also found guilty of the murder and sentenced to 30 and 24 years respectively. Their informant, Peter Ngugi was also found guilty of aiding the crime and handed a 20-year jail sentence.

During the entirety of the nationally televised murder trial, the prosecution produced 46 witnesses while the defence called 36 to the stand.

Kimani, Mwenda and the taxi driver were leaving the Mavoko Law Courts in Machakos County on June 23, 2016 when they were abducted. The trio were from a court session where Mwenda had filed a case against Frederick Leliman.

The three were reportedly held at the Syokimau Police Post before they were sneaked out and eventually murdered. Their bodies were recovered from Ol Donyo Sabuk River stashed in sacks a week later on June 30 and July 1, 2016.

6. Ex-Icaciri Girls Principal Jane Muthoni; charged with the murder of Former Kiiru Principal Solomon Mwangi

On June 3, 2021, former Icaciri Girls Secondary School principal Jane Muthoni was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the murder of her husband Solomon Mwangi in 2016.

Her co-accused Issac Njoroge was also sentenced to 30 years in jail, with Muthoni's sentencing beginning from November 22, 2016 and Njoroge's from December 28, 2016.

While delivering the verdict, Justice Joel Ngugi noted that he issued a lenient ruling since the two were both first time offenders and Muthoni had children who considered her their sole breadwinner.

Justice Ngugi, however, determined that the crime committed was premeditated and well planned, since the accused had made several attempts at the deceased's life.

“Both accused persons had opportunities to walk back but they chose the path of death, I have come to the conclusion that custodial sentence of 30 years imprisonment of the two,” ruled the judge.

Mr. Mwangi, a former Principal of Kiiru Boys High school, was found murdered at a coffee estate in Karakuta, Murang’a County on November 11, 2016, five days after he was reported missing. His hands were tied, face badly bruised and some of his teeth were missing.

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