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Luigi Locati murder: Priest who killed bishop sentenced to 12 years in jail

NATIONAL
By Kamau Muthoni | August 3rd 2021

Father Guyo Waqo (left) and Bishop Luigi Locati. [File, Standard]

A Catholic priest who confessed to killing Bishop Luigi Locati will now serve 27 years in jails instead of life imprisonment. However, he could leave prison earlier since he has been in jail for 15 years.

This is a reduction of the original death sentence which was commuted to life imprisonment and now 27 years.

But since Father Guyo Waqo Malley has already spent 15 years, he is to be released in 2029. In the event that the prison authorities are unimpressed by his conduct, he must stay until 2032. By this time, the priest will be 78 years.

Justice Hedwig Ong’undi ordered that Guyo’s sentence be calculated from the date he was first arraigned. 

“I have considered the applicants’ ages, the period they have been in prison from the date of arrest, the pain that was inflicted on the victim and his family, the guilt hanging on the applicants’ heads, and the reports on their level of rehabilitation. Having done all that I hereby substitute the life sentence each of the applicants is serving with a sentence of 27 years,” she ruled.

In his plea, Guyo said he was remorseful, but said Bishop Locati was the author of his own fate. The former Isiolo Catholic priest explained that Locati frustrated him to an extent of depression. He said the time spent behind bars has taught him about the realities of life and begged for a second chance.

Former Catholic priest Guyo Waqo Malley (right), Mohammed Molu Bagajo, Aden Ibrahim Mohamed, Mahati Ali Halake and Diqa Wario at the Milimani Law Courts, 2014. [Fidelis Kabunyi, Standard]

In a trial that took eight years, the court found that Guyo hatched the plan to kill Locati, bankrolled the entire plot which included buying firearms, recruiting people to execute the bishop and also store and transport the guns. The judge added there was sufficient evidence that the second accused, Mohamed  Molu, took part in one of the meetings and also attacked the bishop on the fateful day with a rungu (club).

Aden Ibrahim Mohamed was recruited to kill Locati and also hired a G3 rifle, which was recovered during the arrest at the scene of the crime. Halake took part in the planning and acquisition of guns and was also paid by Guyo.

Roba Balla Bariche, the judge noted, was directly involved in the bishop’s murder as he was the link between Guyo and the others in planning and executing the mission.

Locati, an Italian, was in charge of Isiolo diocese and was gunned down while walking to his house with a guard.

Guyo’s sentence also applies to his co-convicts Mohamed Molu, Mohamed Ibrahim and Bariche.

Waqo Guyo at Kamiti, November 18, 2015. [David Gichuru, Standard]

At the same time, the court ordered the release of M.A.H after finding that the time he has spent behind bars was enough punishment for him to reform. He was 17 years when he committed the crime.

Guyo conspired to kill the elderly bishop in order to seize control of the church funds, which were under the bishop.

A police officer who investigated the incident, Mohammed Amin, told the court he had established there was bad blood between Guyo and Locati. Amin said Locati had instructed Guyo to stop soliciting for donor funds, which did not go down well with Guyo.

“The defence has proved beyond any reasonable doubt that the accused murdered the bishop. It was inhuman for the accused to kill an elderly and harmless man of the cloth in such a brutal manner,” said trial judge Justice Fred Ochieng during the first conviction.

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