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Likely killing field in Syokimau found as America's FBI join probe of lawyer Willie Kimani's killing

By The Standard Team | July 6th 2016

Detectives investigating Willie Kimani's killing have mapped out an open field in Syokimau as the murder scene.

Sources said investigations showed Mr Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri were likely murdered at the open field, about 1.5km from the turn-off on  Mombasa Road towards the fast growing estate dotted with constructions.

Officers handling the matter revealed that they had been informed the three were killed at an open field in Syokimau by at least six men.

"The killing of the three was committed somewhere near Syokimau. Probably behind Mastermind Company," said a source.

The development is critical in investigations into the kidnap and murder of the three whose bodies were discovered dumped in a river in Ol-Donyo Sabuk, 70 km away, on June 30, five days after their disappearance.

It could also suggest that scrutiny of mobile telephone records of the victims and four Administration Police officers who have been arraigned in court over the killings had yielded crucial leads or the suspects, who initially had refused to co-operate, are talking.

Officers working on the case are drawn from Flying Squad, Homicide, Cyber Crime and Crime Scene units.

It also emerged that America's Federal Bureau if Investigation (FBI) detectives based in Nairobi were assisting in the probe.

planning meetings

Sources told The Standard that four FBI detectives had been attending planning meetings with their Kenyan counterparts.

The taxi that the three were using was abandoned in Kamirithu, Limuru, almost 50km from the reported crime scene.

Yesterday, a fourth Administration Police officer linked to the killings was arraigned in court and Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Joyce Gandhani directed he be detained for 13 days to allow police to complete investigations.

Sergeant Leonard Maina Mwangi will be detained at an undisclosed police station until July 18.

On Monday, Senior Sergeant Fredrick Leliman, Corporal Stephen Chebulet and Constable Silvia Wanjiku Wanjohi were also presented in court and are being detained.

Detectives said two other AP officers were on the run. The search for the fugitives intensified yesterday, with the team handling the matter saying they had been changing their hiding positions.

Chief Government Pathologist Johansen Oduor said the three slain men were hit with blunt objects and strangled.

A CT scan on the bodies did not reveal any other injuries.

A postmortem on the body of Kimani showed that he was hit on the head several times and sustained a fracture in the skull. Mr Muiruri was strangled and had injuries in the head inflicted by a blunt object.

Mwenda had injuries in the head, neck and chest. His skull was also fractured and blood was found in his chest cavity, the postmortem report showed.

Detectives handling the matter said they were pursuing several possible motives for the killings, including business rivalry, narcotics and women.

The team pursuing the matter believe the three victims were abducted by three officers as they left Mavoko Law Courts and taken to Syokimau Administration Police camp where they were detained for hours without being booked.

The officers later picked them from the camp and that was the last time the three were seen alive, police investigations have shown.

Lawyer Cliff Ombeta is representing the four officers and has been negotiating with the prosecution to turn some into State witnesses on condition that their safety be guaranteed.

Other sources said those in custody had agreed to record their statements but sought State protection for them to reveal what they know. They had been refusing to record statements since Friday when they were arrested. Mr Mwangi was arrested on Monday.

Yesterday, the Director of Criminal Investigations Ndegwa Muhoro pledged to protect witnesses.

"I will ensure there is no interference from any quarter and I will ensure investigations are completed and suspects brought to court in 14 days," said Muhoro when he tabled an interim investigations report in court.

In his report dated July 5, Mr Muhoro said the combined units were deployed to handle the matter due to its complex nature, adding that they were to work closely with officers from the Director of Public Prosecutions office and other criminal justice agencies.

Muhoro and Flying Squad head Said Kiprotich told Justice Luka Kimaru that investigations would be completed in two weeks.

The team will gather and analyse the victims' and suspects' phone data, retrace movements of the vehicle used by the victims, analyse crime scene and where the bodies were found.

 secondary location

In his report, Muhoro said they would also investigate other possible vehicles that may have been used to transport the victims to the secondary location.

"The investigators are also expected to record statements from potential witnesses from various regions and follow up leads that may arise," he said.

The investigating officers will assess witness vulnerability with a view of involving the Witness Protection Unit, he added.

At the Mavoko Law Courts, they will investigate whether Mr Mwendwa was involved in other cases other than the one he had filed against the AP officer who allegedly shot him.

Justice Kimaru had earlier summoned Muhoro following an application by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) which sought assurances that culprits would be brought to book.

Yesterday, Muhoro said the main post-mortem was done on July 4, 2016, by Dr Oduor, assisted by Mungai Njau in the presence of Andrew Gachie, representing LSK.

Lawyer John Khaminwa, who is representing the victims' families, said Muhoro's report failed to indicate senior officers who may have facilitated the killings.

"There is no indication of various steps that would have been taken by the police, and thus it is a sketchy report," he said.

Muhoro also did not mention police reforms, which is of high public interest, Mr Khaminwa added.

He said Kenyans had lost confidence in the police investigating themselves, and the law provides for another body such as the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) to take up such serious crimes.

Ms Patricia Chebole, for the Attorney General, welcomed the report, saying it was only an interim one.

The prosecution said the report was done with great care as disclosing evidence would interfere with investigations. They, however, said inviting other agencies to participate would interfere with investigations. The case continues.

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