On June 19, 2002 at around 10pm, Elijah Imathiu was enjoying a cold beer at his local bar in Mugene Trading Centre, Meru County, in the company of his brother Isaac M'Cheke. The two were seated at a table about ten feet from the bar door, which was open.
The only other person in the bar was Joseph Mudambi, the barman at the counter. The bar was lit by a pressure lamp and everything was calm until six robbers stormed in the bar, brandishing a rifle, axes and pangas (machetes).
The robber carrying the rifle stood at the door from where he ordered the patrons to lie down before he shot at Imathiu but missed.
Four of the robbers held Imathiu and pinned him down. Japheth Gituma hit him on the left ankle with an axe, breaking it. Another robber named Murage removed Imathiu's pistol from the left side of the waist while David Bundi removed Imathiu's wallet, which had Sh30,000 and $250 (Sh25,000) dollar notes.
Imathiu's coat was removed by Alphonce Mwongera.
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Meanwhile, two robbers lifted Mudambi who was lying next to the counter and demanded money from him. Gituma threatened to slash him with a panga and fearing for his life, Mudambi complied and gave him Sh45,000 from the counter. The lamp was put out as the robbers fled into the darkness.
The robbery took five to ten minutes.
Imathiu and Mudambi reported the incident at the Meru Police Station. The following day, the two and M'Cheke recorded statements at the police station.
In his statement, Imathiu named Murage, Bundi and Mwongera as the three people he recognised at the time of robbery because they were his neighbours and led police in a search for them.
Murage was found at his home and arrested, but later died. Gituma was arrested by a police officer from Nchiru Police Post while Mwongera and Bundi were arrested after they attempted to rob a bakery with Imathiu's stolen pistol.
They were charged with robbery with violence and later found guilty and sentenced to death. Dissatisfied with the court's ruling, they appealed the decision.
Nyeri Court of Appeal judges Erastus Githinji, Wanjiru Karanja and Patrick Kiage, however, dismissed their final appeal on December 21, 2016 after they found that their grounds of appeal had no merit.