An Administration Police officer who shot and killed 10 people in Siakago market, Embu County as he pursued his alleged unfaithful lover has been jailed for 20 years.
Peter Karanja was on night duty at the then Mbeere North District Commissioner's residence when he walked to nearby bars to hunt for his girlfriend and sprayed bullets to the patrons using his G3 rifle.
Embu Resident Judge Florence Muchemi handed him 20 years for each of the ten counts of murder he was facing. The sentences will, however, run concurrently meaning that he would serve only 20 years in jail.
“The prosecution witnesses proved beyond any reasonable doubt that he committed the offices. They proved a prima-facie case against him thus finding him guilty,” said Muchemi while passing the judgement.
Karanja stood composed in the dock while listening keenly to the judge’s verdict. He was whisked away by the court sentries into the cell adjoining the court after the ruling.
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His lawyer Victor Andande had pleaded for a non-custodial sentence stating that the former policeman was remorseful and that he suffered from a terminal illness.
However, the magistrate declined, noting that there was no way she could have given the convict a non-custodial sentence as the offence he committed was too serious.
Muchemi said the sentence would serve as a lesson to others with the intention of committing a similar offense.
Andande also sought for his client’s sentence to start 10 years back arguing that he has been in custody for the period since the incident took place.
Muchemi said she could not depend on a verbal application and asked the lawyer to make a formal application.
The judge gave the convict 14 days to appeal against the sentence if he was unsatisfied.
The former policeman was convicted of killing Anthony Mwaniki, Frida Ng’endo, Kenwin Muthomi, Agostino Kinyua and George Ng’ang’a, Domisiano Muchira, Ephantus Munyi, Rachel Muthoni, Wilfred Gitonga and Fredrick Okwako in November 2010.
Gitonga and Okwako who were his AP counterparts at the Mbeere North DC’s office, died while trying to restrain him.
The court heard that Karanja was on night duty when he was informed that his girlfriend was allegedly cheating on him.
At around 11:30pm, he excused himself to go to toilet but instead walked down to Siakago market about half a kilometre away, stormed into several bars looking for his girlfriend and rained bullets on patrons when he failed to find her.
He surrendered to police officers pursuing him only after he run out of bullets. The girlfriend survived.