Prosecution closes Chiloba murder case as court sets ruling date

LGBTQ activist Edwin Kiptoo alias Chiloba. [Courtesy] 

The prosecution has closed its case in the murder of LGBTQ activist Edwin Kiptoo alias Chiloba after about one year of court hearings.

The prosecution presented 22 witnesses to testify in the matter before the High Court sitting in Eldoret.

Counsel Mark Mugun told presiding Judge Reuben Nyakundi that the prosecution was ready to pave the way for the defence team led by the accused person Jackton Odhiambo and his advocate to argue their case.

Justice Nyakundi directed Mugun and Odhiambo’s lawyer Mathai Maina to file their final submissions before he can rule on whether the accused has a case to answer or not.

During the onset of the trial, Mugun told the court how the body of the 26-year-old student was found stashed in a metallic box and how the investigating agencies pieced together the evidence.

“This is a case of circumstantial evidence. We will present 22 witnesses who will piece together a chain of events that will point unerringly to the accused person as the one behind the unlawful death of Mr Chiloba. You will hear testimonies of betrayal. The deceased was murdered in his own house, betrayed by someone he trusted the most,” the prosecution said.

Chiloba’s friends would later tell the court that the slain University of Eldoret student and Odhiambo were lovers.

Other witnesses who testified before Justice Nyakundi were the accused’s relatives who allegedly helped him load the metallic box bearing Chiloba’s body in a car and unknowingly covered up the gruesome murder.

“You will also hear testimonies of relatives of the accused person who will tell you how their trust was abused and how they inadvertently helped the accused to cover up for the crime,” Mugun said during the pre-trial conference.

Among the witnesses were experts including a Data Analyst from the DCI, who told the court the movements and the occurrences that led to the death and disposal of Chiloba’s body.

The court heard that immediately after the student’s gruesome murder, Odhiambo began spending his (Chiloba) money.

Corporal Jonathan Limo, a DCI data analyst seconded to Safaricom, tabled in court the call data records and Mpesa statements belonging to the accused and the deceased.

The court heard that Odhiambo visited various entertainment joints and hotels and even paid for massage and sex using Chiloba’s Mpesa number. Even the metallic box in which the student’s body was found stashed had been bought using his own money.

Polycarp Kweyu, principal chemist from the Government chemist in Kisumu told the court that DNA profiles generated from Chiloba’s anal swab, stains from his clothes and bed sheets matched that of the accused person.

Kweyu further revealed that the male DNA profiles generated from the bed cover matched seminal fluids that were extracted from Odhiambo.

Another witness Jane Waya, a Government Analyst from Kisumu who conducted a toxicological analysis on samples taken from the deceased’s body said that no chemical substances were detected.

Chief Inspector Julius Irungu a forensic expert based at the National Forensic Laboratory, DCI headquarters who accompanied homicide investigators to the murder scene and to the mortuary where an autopsy was conducted tabled photographs, which are exhibits in the case.

Odhiambo is accused of killing Chiloba, who was a fourth-year student pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Apparel Fashion and Design at the University of Eldoret.

He denied killing the fashionista between December 31, 2022, and January 3, 2023, at Noble Breeze Apartments in Chebisaas area, Moiben sub-county, Uasin Gishu county.

Chiloba’s decomposing body was discovered stashed in a metallic box on January 3, 2023, along the busy Kipkenyo-Kaptinga road in Kapseret sub-county, Uasin Gishu county.

According to an autopsy report conducted by government pathologist, Johansen Oduor at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, the deceased died of asphyxiation.

The court will deliver the ruling on June 3.