Paul Makenzi, 30 suspects to undergo mental assessment before murder trial

Paul Makenzi and other suspects at the Malindi Law Court. [Tobias Chanji, Standard]

Paul Makenzi and 30 co-accused will undergo a mental assessment before their murder trial commences, the Malindi Law Court has ordered.

The tests are to be carried out within 14 days before they stand trial  over the Shakahola deaths.

The 31 suspects were arraigned before Justice Thande Mugure on Wednesday, January 17, who granted the prosecution two weeks to continue holding the suspects as they undergo mental tests.

During the hearing, the defense team led by Lawyer Wycliff Makasembo had opposed an application by the State which was greenlighted by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Renson Ingonga to prosecute the suspects after a nine-month investigation.

The matter will come up for mention on February 6, 2024.

Makenzi and his co-accused arrived at the Malindi law courts under tight security, after being behind bars for 278 days following accusations of being responsible for the deaths of 429 people whose bodies were later exhumed from the Shakahola Forest.

Among the exhumed were 238 bodies of children whose postmortem reports indicated that they were strangled to death while some starved to death.