Journalist Jacqueline Maribe and her ex-boyfriend Joseph Irungu alias Jowie have begun the fight for their lives after the High Court found they have a case to answer over the murder of Monica Kimani.
Justice Grace Nzioka ruled that the prosecution has proved its case to warrant putting Jowie and Maribe on their defence which puts the ex-lovers at risk of getting the maximum death penalty should they fail to adequately defend themselves.
"I have had the benefit of going through the evidence and submissions and the court is satisfied that the prosecution has established a prima facie case to place each of the accused persons on their defence," ruled Nzioka.
Justice Nzioka's decision means that it is the turn of Jowie and Maribe to bring their evidence and witnesses to prove their innocence over the murder of Ms Kimani before the judge determines whether they are guilty or not.
Jowie, through his lawyer Hassan Nandwa said he will give a sworn statement and call one witness while Maribe said she will call six witnesses to defend her.
Her decision will be a relief to Ms Kimani's family who have been crying for justice since her murder on the night of September 19, 2018, at her Lamuria Gardens apartment in Kilimani, Nairobi County just hours after she returned from a business trip to South Sudan.
The prosecution's case was that Jowie and Maribe had a common intention to murder the businesswoman after which they hatched an elaborate plan to cover up the killing before investigators caught up with them.
Senior state prosecutor Wangui Gichuhi had told the court that the painful death Ms Kimani went through, including her throat being slit, was of such great magnitude that it showed the two accused persons had the intention to cause irreparable harm to her life.
The prosecution submitted that both direct and circumstantial evidence linked the two to the murder in which Jowie stole an identity card to access Ms Kimani house to murder while Maribe was waiting for him to accomplish the task before they went home together.
According to Gichuhi, Jowie was positively identified by several witnesses as the last person seen at Ms Kimani's house which was confirmed by DNA analysis of blood samples from her shorts.
Ms Gichuhi stated that Maribe was aware of the killing by giving him her vehicle to use in the murder before trying to conceal the murder by lying to police and burning clothes to destroy evidence.
She told the court that Maribe conspired with Jowie to create a false narrative that they had been attacked by robbers while entering their house at Royal Park Estate in Lang'ata when Jowie had shot himself to cover up his actions.
"At no point did she provide information to police about the murder incident only to be seen on Citizen TV the following day announcing the sad death of Ms Kimani when she was fully aware of what had happened," said Gichuhi.
She claimed that Maribe was part of Jowie's plan to kill Ms Kimani and waited for him at a club in Westlands to accomplish the mission, provided him with the means of transport, helped in destroying the evidence and continually lied to police.
Ms Gichuhi added that the report from the government chemist proved that the deceased's blood samples were found in Jowie's clothes and that his phone call data placed him at the scene of murder.
The investigating officer, Chief Inspector Maxwel Otieno, recreated the action and trail of how Ms Kimani was brutally murdered by taking the judge on a site visit from a club in Kilimani where Jowie left to go Ms Kimani's house at Lamuria before picking Maribe at a club in Westlands.
Mr Otieno in his testimony singled out twelve reasons why he concluded that Jowie was the person who unleashed the final blow leading to Ms Kimani death while for Maribe, the investigator gave five reasons to prove her involvement in the murder.
Their case against Jowie was that he was the last person with the deceased and a DNA analysis confirmed blood stains recovered on the brown shorts he wore on the night of murder marched the blood samples of the deceased.
He added that witnesses positively identified Jowie as having been in Ms Kimani's house on the night she was killed, changed his dressings into a white kanzu in the presence of a witness, stole an ID card to access the house and was placed at the scene of murder through phone call logs.
The prosecution's evidence against Maribe was that her car was spotted close to the scene of murder and that she was seen in the same car the night Ms Kimani was killed.
According to the investigator, Maribe was within the area of the incident and switched off her phone around the time the murder was allegedly being committed and later witnessed when Jowie burnt his clothes to destroy evidence outside her residence.
"Maribe gave two contradicting statements to investigators concerning injuries sustained by Jowie. She reported at Langata Police Station that Jowie was attacked and shot by thugs but later told investigators that he shot himself in the shoulder in her house," said the investigator.
Mr Otieno stated further that both Jowie and Maribe were spotted at Club 40 in Westlands almost immediately after the murder incident and later seen in the same car while driving to their residence.
It was the evidence that convinced Justice Nzioka to rule that they have a case to answer and scheduled the defence hearing on May 11 and 12.