Man found guilty of murder of famous football fan Isaac Juma

Milton Namatsi before the High Court in Kakamega on Friday, June 2, 2023, where he was found guilty of the murder of renowned football fan Isaac Juma. Juma's killing last year was linked to a land dispute. [Mary Imenza, Standard]

A 27-year-old man has been found guilty of the murder of ardent football fan Isaac Juma.

Juma, a veteran supporter of the national football team, Harambee Stars, and a premier leagues side AFC Leopards fan, was hacked to death at his Rukaya village home in Mumias West, Kakamega County, on January 27 last year.

The football fanatic, who was 58 years old at his death, was said to have been killed by his relatives following a land dispute.

In his ruling, Justice William Musyoka, of the High Court in Kakamega, said the prosecution had proved its case against 27-year-old Milton Namatsi beyond any reasonable doubt.

“Five witnesses testified against the accused and their testimony is binding. Having considered that, you are found guilty of the offence of murder," the judge said.

He added: "I, therefore, order that the probation department gives a social evaluation report of his conduct before he is sentenced on September 25."

Justice Musyoka said Namatsi, who faces up to life in prison, would be given time to mitigate before sentencing.

Namatsi, who is remanded at the Kakamega GK Prison, said he is ready with his mitigation.

The late football fan Isaac Juma. [File, Standard]

Police told the court that Juma was hit several times on the head and that he later died from excessive bleeding.

"The 58-year-old and his family had just eaten at his home.  At some point that night, his children who were taking their supper outside the house, reported seeing silhouettes of human beings lurking near the fence," testified the investigation officer.

The officer added: “Moments later, they heard a commotion in the sheep’s pen. The sheep began bleating, prompting Juma and his 17-year-old son to dash outside to see what was happening.”

But before they could establish what was happening, a group of men armed with machetes attacked them, hacking Juma to death, the court heard.

Juma’s killing was linked to a land dispute with their family. Juma was said to have disagreed with his brother and sisters over land boundaries.

Neighbours said Juma brought government officials to settle a boundary dispute and his relatives were angered by this move. 

He often painted his body with different colours and wrote slogans on it. He was a permanent fixture at many football matches, especially those that involved Harambee Stars and AFC Leopards.

Juma's love for football can be traced way back to 1987 when he started painting his body and appearing during football matches involving AFC Leopards or Harambee Stars which he hardly missed.

He was also a common feature during national day celebrations.

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