April 1, 2009 had been a long day for Edward and Salome Thuranira of Buuri, Tigania, Meru County.
They had just got home from work and were resting when two people, wielding pangas and clubs, broke into their home at about 6.30pm.
One of the two men who attacked them was Julius Murithi who they couple recognised as their neighbour.
Murithi and his accomplice demanded to be given money, mobile phones and other valuables. He was the one wielding a panga which he used to viciously slash Thuranira’s left arm after he failed to produce the cash as demanded.
The cut was so deep that Thuranira’s left hand was almost completely amputated.
Salome, recognising the danger they were facing, started pleading for her husband’s life and immediately gave the thugs Sh3,000 belonging to Thuranira.
Murithi and his accomplice fled the home and Salome, with assistance from some of her neighbours, managed to get her husband to Tigania Police Station where the incident was reported. Thereafter, Thuranira was referred to Miathene District Hospital and later to Meru District Hospital where he was admitted for two weeks.
The hospital could, however, not save his left hand and it had to be amputated from the wrist.
The couple had given their assailant’s identity to their neighbours and to the police which prompted Murithi to disappear from the area.
He was, however, eventually arrested and arraigned in court to face robbery with violence charges for the offence. Appearing before the trial magistrate court, Murithi denied the charge against him and identified Thuranira as his uncle.
He told the court that on the material day, he was at his home with his wife, working in the shamba. But later told the court that his wife had deserted him and he was, therefore, unable to call her as a witness.
Murithi intimated that the matter was a false allegation against him because there existed a land dispute between the two families.
The court was not satisfied with his defence and found him guilty of the offence. The judge then sentenced him to death.
Aggrieved by the decision, Murithi moved to the High Court which upheld the lower court’s ruling, prompting him to seek assistance from the Court of appeal.
His appeal was, however, not successful after appellate judges Erastus Githinji, Wanjiru Karanja and Patrick Kiage dismissed his allegations and upheld the ruling.