Woman declared hostile witness in murder case

The High Court yesterday declared a woman 69 a hostile witness after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) said the evidence she was tendering against her son was contrary to her written statement.

This was after Priscilla Janilla Kiome who was testifying under oath disowned a police statement and denied having recorded any statement at any police station.

Janilla was testifying in a case where her son, Francis Adega, is charged with murdering his seven-year-old nephew after burning the house they were sleeping in.

Through Prosecution Counsel Paul Juma, the DPP submitted that the witness in had recorded that she saw the accused pour petro on the house and setting it ablaze.

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“We pray that this court declares our witness as hostile for denying recording the statement. According to the statement, she had implicated her son who is now the accused herein saying she saw him pour petrol on the windows and the door before setting the entire house on fire,” Mr Juma submitted.

He added the witness had stated that her son had come home drunk and issued threats of burning a house and kill someone in the process.

“In the statement she recorded on the morning after the attack, the witness narrated to the officers that her son who was sleeping in the same house with her had disappeared after the arson yet she now says the accused was working in Kisumu at the time,” Judge Jesse Njagi heard.

Janilla who seemed to cover-up her son’s murder charge admitted she was inside the house with her two grandchildren during the 10pm incident but she managed to escape unhurt.

Applying for summons for the police officer who helped Janilla record statement, the DPP applied to have her statement marked as exhibits to help the Judge compare the statements and the oral testimony.

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Adega is alleged to have murdered Alflix Keyombo on March 7, 2014 at their Mudete Village, Sabatia sub-county in Vihiga, a charge he has denied ever committing.

Wycliffe Nandiema, the father to the deceased said Adega was at home at the time of the fire incident.

Nandiema, a brother to the accused told the court that after the fire, he disappeared for months and said he shall burn more houses.

“My two children used to spend the night at their grandmother’s house since it was spacious. After the fire incident, my younger brother disappeared and the day he was arrested he swore he was done with one house and shall burn three more,” Nandiema said.

He told the court that they managed to rescue Alflix Keyombo, 7 and his Sister Modesta Ijana, 3 with severe burns and took him to Mbale sub-county hospital.

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However, Keyombo succumbed to the injuries after he was transferred to Russia Hospital in Kisumu.  

Initially, the accused was faced with arson charges at Hamisi Law Courts before the charges were substituted to murder after Keyombo died while seeking specialized treatment.

During cross-examination by defense lawyer Innocent Ondieki, Nandiema admitted the body of the deceased was exhumed months after his burial after High Court granted orders for post mortem exercise.

This is because autopsy reports are mandatory as expert proof that there was death of a person.

The matter was adjourned to February 11, 2019.

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