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Governor Okoth Obado seeks to postpone trial on Sharon Otieno’s murder

By Kamau Muthoni | June 30th 2021
Migori Governor Okoth Obado and Sharon Belyne Otieno.

Migori Governor Okoth Obado wants the murder trial where he is charged with the murder of Rongo University student Sharon Otieno postponed.

The High Court set the trial to start on Monday, July 5, 2021.

His lawyer, Kioko Kilukumi, in a letter to the Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji wants the trial pushed to a later date citing Covid-19 in the lake region as the sole reason for seeking an adjournment.

According to Kilukumi, his client resides in Migori and which has been flagged as a hotspot.

“As you are well aware, the Ministry of Health issued a public notice on 17th June 2021, in which it was decreed that Migori County is part and parcel of the Covid-19 hotspot zone. The Ministry of Health decreed that: Except for essential and emergency services, movement between the hotspot Zone and the rest of the country is strongly discouraged,” Kilukumi wrote in his letter dated June 28 this year.

According to Obado, the hearing should happen when Covid-19 has subsided.

He continued: “In light of the directions issued by the Ministry of Health for the greater public good and to avoid the quick spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19 to the rest of the country, my client is unable to travel outside the Covid-19 hotspot Zone. Accordingly, we request the case be mentioned virtually on Monday, the 5th July, 2021 for the purpose of fixing fresh hearing dates, hopefully at a time when the threat of Covid–19 has substantially subsided.”

In this case, Obado is the first accused person. He was charged alongside personal assistant, Michael Oyamo, and the Migori county clerk, Caspal Obiero. They are accused of killing Sharon and her unborn baby.

The three were initially each facing one count of murder, now face another charge of the murder of Sharon's unborn child after the court allowed the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) to consolidate the two cases.

Sharon was seven months pregnant when she was killed.

In the first count, Obado, Oyamo and Obiero were charged afresh with jointly murdering Sharon on the night of September 3 at Kodera Forest in Oyugis town, Homa Bay County. In the second count, the three were charged with killing Sharon’s unborn baby, referred to as “Baby Sharon” in the charge sheet.

“Particulars of the case states that you, Zachary Okoth Obado, Michael Oyamo and Caspal Obiero between September 3 and 4 2018 at Owade Area in Oyugis, Rachuonyo sub-county within Homa Bay County jointly murdered Sharon Belyne Otieno,” read the charge sheet.

The DPP’s decision to amend the charge sheet to introduce the killing of the foetus is a first of its kind and will likely open a new chapter in the prosecution of those accused of killing or aborting unborn babies.

According to State prosecutors Jacob Ondari and Alexander Muteti, the constitution states that life begins at conception and that they cannot overlook the fact that a second person was also killed during the gruesome murder of Sharon.

A post-mortem report filed in court by the DPP showed that the male 28-weeks-old foetus died as a result of stab wounds on the right side through the mother’s womb, and its intestines hanging inside the womb.

The report also had DNA results which showed that Obado was the biological father of Sharon’s unborn baby boy.

“There are 99.99+pc more chances that Zacharia Okoth Obado is the biological father of the donor of the DNA generated from the foetus, which is Sharon Belyne Otieno’s child,” read the report.

The prosecution’s case was that from the injuries occasioned to the deceased mother and her unborn child, there was a deliberate malicious intention to cause death of both the mother and child.   

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