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Man jailed for life over poll violence

By - | Published Wed, June 13th 2012 at 00:00, Updated June 12th 2012 at 22:05 GMT +3

By Patrick Kibet

A 24-year-old man accused of killing another during Post Election Violence has been sentenced to life imprisonment by the High Court in Nakuru.

In the ruling, Justice Roselyn Wendoh convicted Paul Kipkemboi Ruto alias Saitoti over the murder of Kimani Thiongo in Kamura area in Timboroa on January 1, 2008.

This is the second time the High Court has jailed for life accused persons charged with murder connected to Post Election Violence.

Justice Mary Angawa, sitting in Kericho, jailed two people for life for killing two policemen at the height of post poll chaos.

Justice Angawa convicted Robert Kemboi and Kirkland Langat for killing Police constable Peter Githinji and his Administration Police counterpart David Odhiambo in Roret Trading Centre.

Justice Wendoh noted in her ruling that Charles Wamae the first prosecution witness said he saw raiders emerge from a maize plantation and one Daniel Kibos threw a panga at the deceased missing him by a whisker.

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According to the evidence by 11 prosecution witnesses, Thiongo was killed in cold blood in broad daylight at his farm.

Wamae told the court that the deceased was hit by an arrow on the head whereby he fell down.

He added that Saitoti rushed to where the deceased was and attacked him with a panga. Wamae later escaped fearing for his life.

David Maina another witness in the murder case told the court they had congregated at the home of the deceased fearing for their lives.

He said the deceased had called him to where he was after realising they were surrounded by the raiders.

Maina told the court he saw Saitoti attack the deceased after he fell on the ground. Justice Wendoh noted that Maina knew the accused very well since they had lived as neighbours for a long time.

Ruth Kerobo said though she had not witnessed the murder she had escaped the area with the children following the escalating violence.

The Judge noted that the deceased was buried without any post-mortem being done due to the prevailing situation then. She added that the body was exhumed later in May, 29, 2010 and following the post-mortem an arrow was recovered from the head of the deceased.

In his defence the accused submitted to the court that he had left the area with his family following the clashes and was in Tinet area on December 31 2007.

In her ruling, the Judge dismissed the accused assertions noting that it was an afterthought and had failed to raise the issues during the hearing.

She noted that the attack happened in broad daylight and the prosecution witnesses who witnessed the murder had no difficulty identifying the accused.

She also raised questions why the prosecution had not arrested two suspects Daniel Kibor and Ngetich who were identified as accomplices by the prosecution witnesses during the hearing of the case.

The accused first appeared in court in November 2010 charged with destruction of property and murder. He was alleged to have committed the offence with  two others not in court. 

On the fateful night the deceased seven houses were razed down as well as five others belonging to his elder son Thiongo Kamau. Seven cows and two sheep were also stolen with the total estimated to be worth more than Sh 1million.   

The Judge said that the attack was premeditated, planned and executed by the raiders after the disputed elections in 2007.

“I find the accused was an accomplice and the evidence has proved beyond reasonable doubt. I find the accused guilty of the offence,” Wendoh concluded.

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