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Woman to serve 30 years in jail over husband's murder

Rift Valley

The High Court in Eldoret has sentenced a woman to 30 years imprisonment for the brutal murder of her husband Geoffrey Matenje.

Matenje, 35, who was a newspaper vendor in Eldoret town was murdered on October 6, 2018.

Melisa Muhinda, 32, was sentenced alongside her accomplice Samuel Amatuka, who was a boda boda operator.

It took Justice Reuben Nyakundi about 30 minutes to deliver the judgment.

The Judge noted that Muhinda and Amatuka did not show any remorse or regret all through the trial.

He said the duo who are believed to have had an affair, were not ready to be rehabilitated.

Justice Nyakundi ruled that Muhinda and Amatuka premeditated, planned and meticulously executed the heinous murder of the newspaper vendor.

“The circumstantial evidence presented undeniably places both convicts at the centre of the murder. The deceased was only a victim of grotesque crime executed in a series of assault and disposal of the body. His body was dismembered and put in a gunny bag ready for disposal,” he said.

He found that Amatuka took considerable time and even travelled from Lodwar in Turkana county to Eldoret with the sole purpose to end Matenje’s life.

“The degree of preparation and the amount of time taken points to malice aforethought. The convicts killed and disposed of the body of the deceased to destroy any piece of evidence against them,” he said.

The court heard that Amatuka had a motorcycle, which was used to ferry the dismembered body ready for disposal.

“I am not saying this to defend my decision but when you look at this case, crime happened at your home. You cannot acquit yourself from this murder scene,” the Judge told Muhinda.

Justice Nyakundi wondered how Amatuka, a family man with two wives and school going children would be motivated to travel to Eldoret to murder his friend’s husband.

He told the convict that the court would not forgive him as it's duty is to dispense justice and not mercy, and his plea for leniency does not stand.

“During the incident, you were a man of good health and stability and did not have any history of offense. In your heart and spirit, you bear the greatest truth, which was never told to this court on what happened on that material day,” Justice Nyakundi said.

The Judge said that he would not consider the maximum sentence requested by the lead prosecution counsel Mark Mugun.

Mugun had asked the court to consider a death sentence for the duo terming the incident as murder most foul.

Justice Nyakundi also dismissed Muhinda’s mitigation for a non-custodial sentence. She told court that she is an orphan and has three children who are destitute and in need of a caregiver.

However, the Judge said that the state will take the best interests of the minors as their mother serves her term.

Justice Nyakundi told Muhinda and Amatuka that although they did not show remorse or seek forgiveness, God would reward them.

“May the truth of God speak to you in your personal lives. You can stay put but the Lord knows what you did, but for this court, the evidence produced is enough to place you as the perpetrators of Matenje’s murder,” he said.

The convicts killed Matenje six years ago at Kamukunji estate in the outskirts of Eldoret, Uasin Gishu county on October 6, 2018.

A postmortem report showed that Matenje died of severe internal bleeding caused by a head injury. The report further indicated that he had multiple injuries on his abdomen.

The victim’s family led by Ernest Matete expressed disappointment at the sentence saying that they anticipated a life sentence or a jail term of more than 60 years.

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