Three people to serve 30 years for killing couple over witchcraft claims

Three people convicted of the killing of a couple they accused of bewitching their neighbour’s son have been jailed for 30 years.

Hellen Anyango Oloo, Julius Otieno and Pamela Atieno Ramogi were found guilty of killing Joseph Alal and Elizabeth Omollo Alal on July 10, 2012 at Onuro village, Ndhiwa, in Homa Bay County.

Justices Daniel Musinga, Kathurima M’Inoti and Agnes Murgor of the Court of Appeal substituted a death sentence imposed on the three with the lengthy jail term.

The accused had appealed a judgement issued by the High Court of Kenya at Homa Bay and delivered by Justice Esther Maina on December 5, 2013.

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Justice Maina had convicted the three on two counts of murder and sentenced them to death on both counts.

The three were aggrieved and launched an appeal challenging both the conviction and the sentence.

The Court of Appeal, however, set aside the sentence of death imposed upon the appellants and substituted it with imprisonment for 30 years from the date of sentencing by the trial court.

Learned judge

“In these circumstances, we are satisfied that the learned judge did not err by holding that common intention was proved to the required standard,” ruled the three-judge bench.

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Two innocent people lost their lives, obviously in excruciating pain and agony, for no reason. The manner in which they were murdered was rather cruel and inhuman.”

The prosecution’s evidence indicated that on the material day, Joseph Alal and his son were waylaid and taken to Hellen Oloo’s house where her son lay ailing. Alal, who was accused of bewitching the boy, was assaulted as he was ordered to undo his ‘witchcraft’.

As the assault was in progress, the appellants were busy cheering the attackers and inviting fellow villagers to come and witness how witches were killed.

At about 9pm, Joseph was led to his house where he was locked in with his wife and the building set on fire.

Ayoma Ojuang, who performed the postmortem on the bodies, testified that they were burnt to death.

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witchcraftcouple murdered