Willy Kimani murder: Court convicts four people but exonerates Sgt Mwangi
The High Court has found three AP police officers guilty of the killings of lawyer Willie Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda, and driver Joseph Muiruri: Sergeant Fredrick Ole Leliman, Stephen Cheburet, Sylvia Wanjiku, and informer Peter Ngugi.
Sergeant Leonard Mwangi, the fourth accused individual, has been cleared of all three counts of murder.
The trial judge, Jessie Lessit, who ended hearing the case on February 11, stated that it was the longest in her experience as a judge, lasting six years and involving 72 witnesses (both from the prosecution and the defense) and over 7,200 pages of handwritten proceedings. During the trial, prosecutors presented 117 exhibits to establish the murder allegations brought against the accused.
"The accused had a shared goal." "I am satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the prosecution has proven that the accused persons were major offenders and that they operated with a single common intention to conduct the crime charged," the judge stated.
While convicting the defendants, the court stated that the evidence presented by the prosecution locked the accused persons at the scene of the murder at Mlolongo and the movement of dumping the bodies in Athi River Kilimambogo.
The judge also noted that the defense evidence did not shake the prosecution evidence, despite the fact that one of the accused, Ngugi, confessed and provided information about how the murder was planned and carried out.
Leliman, according to Justice Lessit, had a personal grudge against Kimani's client Josephat Mwenda because of a lawsuit filed at the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) against his conduct, which had jeopardized his career.
"I believe Leliman had a purpose to silence Mwenda since his career was at stake as a result of the complaint Mwenda filed at IPOA," she added, referring to the IPOA's probe into the officer's conduct.
"The IPOA and Witness Protection Agency acted too slowly, and Mwenda who had reached out to them deserved to be protected," the judge stated, adding that the Prosecution had proven that Mr. Leliman had a motive in Mwenda's murder.
Justice Lessit also discovered that Mr. Leliman had shot Mr. Mwenda during a police stop in 2015, previous to the murder. After the event was reported to the police, he became the principal architect of the murder and began organizing the execution of the Boda Boda rider.
As part of his retaliation, he filed bogus criminal charges against Mr. Mwenda, including possession of bhang and a driving violation.
The court ordered that the case be heard on September 23, 2022, to confirm the filing of probation and victim assessment reports, as well as for further instructions on sentencing and mitigation for the four offenders.
On July 1, 2016, the deceased was discovered in gunny sacks discarded in the Athi River. They had gone missing a week earlier, on June 23, after being abducted outside Mavoko law courts by Sergeant Ole Leliman after the police senior officer mentioned a traffic charge lodged against Mr. Mwenda.