Nine suspects in Chief's murder plead not guilty, remaded two months

Fleet of cars of security personnel on standby at Kamaindi shopping center after police launched a manhunt for suspects who killed a chief and later two police officers who were pursuing the suspects at Ugweri Shopping Centre in Embu East Sub-County. [File, Standard]

The nine suspects linked to the murder of Kamaindi Chief Japhet Majau Mukengu  have pleaded not guilty of the offence before the High Court in Chuka.

The accused persons are: Gerald Njeru, Julius Mburu, John Nthiga Kirema, Sisiria Gatuura Ruchianga, Leah Muthoni Ngigi, Julius Njeru Kimenye, Jornard Njagi Kibiube, Gediel Munyua Munugu and Tom Kinyua Njoka.

The suspects are accused of jointly with others who were not before the court of willingly killing the chief at his Kamaindi location in Igambang’ombe Sub County, Tharaka Nithi County on April 30, 2019.

The prosecution side led by Jane Maari assured the court that the nine were fit to stand trial considering they had all undergone mental assessment following recommendations by a lower court where they were first arraigned.

 “The nine underwent mental assessment and were found fit to stand trial. We are also ready to proceed with the trial,” said the prosecutor.

Through their lawyer, the accused persons orally sought their release on bond but the prosecution side objected and requested for a formal application.

Justice Robert Limo directed that a probation report for each of the nine suspects be prepared and presented in court for consideration together with the formal bond application.

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“Meanwhile, the suspects will remain in police custody until July 31, 2019 when the case will be heard,” said Justice Limo.

The chief who was reportedly killed and his body set ablaze, was buried at his Kigatuni village on May 17.

The administrator's murder led to the killing of Chuka OCS Joseph Kinyua and a police informer at Ugweri market in Embu County on May 1, 2019.

The OCS was attacked while pursuing a suspect in the chief’s murder David Ikaaba who was also shot dead by police at the market.

Four suspects in the murder of the OCS were arraigned in Embu Court on May 20 and police sought more time for investigation.

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Kamaindi ChiefJaphet Majau MukenguSuspectsGuiltyCourtArraigned in court