A man convicted for the murder of his wife in Nairobi four years ago has been jailed for 20 years.
Erustus Ngura Odhiambo alias Baba Billy, a father of four, killed Linda Wanjiru Irungu, a city lawyer, on the night of December 11/12, 2014.
“I have with great care considered all evidence from defence and prosecution and I find all the ingredients of murder proved beyond reasonable doubt. I find the accused guilty of the offence of murder as charged and convict him accordingly,” ruled High Court judge Stella Mutuku.
Mr Odhiambo killed the 27-year-old lawyer at Waihura Court in Buru Buru Phase 5 estate. The two had known each other for three years.
The prosecution had told the court that Odhiambo and Ms Wanjiku were married and had a child together.
Odhiambo said he had paid some dowry, but Wanjiku's family maintained the two were just friends.
Odhiambo faced multiple charges of altering a civilian firearm licence and being found in possession of the firearm used in the murder.
At the time of her death, Wanjiku was living with her sister, Diana Irungu, who testified in court. The couple's child and two house helps also testified.
The court heard that the accused had gone looking for Wanjiku on the night of the killing and found her inside her car preparing to drive out of Waihura Court.
Odhiambo then blocked her car, moved to the driver’s side and pulled Wanjiku out, leaving the vehicle to roll on towards the gate.
A quarrel ensued between the two during which Odhiambo is reported to have assaulted Wanjiku before shooting her.
Through his two lawyers, the accused said in mitigation whatever happened that night was not deliberate.
He told the court to consider that he had honoured court proceedings and appeared before the investigators when he was required to.
Odhiambo also requested the court not to grant him a harsh sentence because the latest authority from the Supreme Court said the death sentence law was being reviewed.
“I request the court to grant my client a sentence that will correct him instead of punishing him,” said his lawyer.
State counsel Catherine Mwaniki had urged the court to give the accused a death sentence.
“The aspect of mandatory death penalty was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. However, it was not scrapped and the decision allows a trial judge to sentence murder convicts to a lesser sentence depending on the circumstances, thus the death sentence is still valid,” ruled Ms Mutuku.
The judge added that she had considered mitigation by the convict and that he appeared remorseful and was a first offender.
Mutuku said she was aware of the circumstances of the case, and that Odhiambo should have reacted in a different way instead of killing Wanjiku even if he was provoked.
She said the pain caused to the family of the deceased by the convict could not be reversed.
She said she also considered the victim impact statement in which the victim’s family had requested the court to give the maximum penalty because the accused had murdered their loved one.
“He murdered my daughter and I am still in pain. My heart is in pain. I don’t know what to say but I would like the court to grant the accused maximum penalty,” said Wanjiku's mother.