Last chance for suspect in athlete Agnes Tirop's murder

"The court will give the defence this duration (until April 19) as the last stroke to deal with the plea bargain issue. Follow the legal approach so that we can fast-track this matter," said Justice Nyakundi.

In the matter, the prosecution led by Mark Mugun and David Fedha, told the court that they wanted it to maintain murder charges against the suspect.

Mugun said the prosecution and the defence were reading from different scripts as the republic would only bargain on the sentence of the accused whereas the defence wanted the murder charges reduced to manslaughter.

He asked the court to instead do away with the plea bargain and continue with the full hearing of the matter.

Richard Warigi, the advocate representing Tirop's family, had also agreed with the prosecution, stating that the victim's family was opposed to the manslaughter charges sought by the suspect.

In June last year, Rotich had, through his lawyer, informed the court that he intended to seek a plea bargain in order to face a lesser charge of manslaughter.

The court also heard for the first time that Rotich and Tirop had been married under the statute on March 15, 2016. At the time of marriage, Tirop was 20 while Rotich was 37.

Ngigi Mbugua, the advocate representing Rotich, told the court that it was important to note that the couple had been married for five years and that a plea bargain would be the best route to take.

The court had in May 2022 denied releasing Rotich on bond. Rotich denied murdering the athlete in November 2021.

Tirop was a 25-year-old star athlete who had participated in the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 2021, featuring in the 5,000-metre race in which she finished fourth.

She won a bronze medal at the 2017 and 2019 World Championships in the 10,000m and also broke the record in the women's 10km road race at the Adizero Road to Records event in Herzogenaurach, Germany.

She was found dead in her house in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County, on October 13, 2021.