The key mastermind in the murder of lawyer Willie Kimani, his client, and the taxi driver was Friday sentenced to death on each count.
Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and driver Joseph Muiruri were found murdered after being abducted in 2016 in Mlolongo, Machakos County.
The suspects are Fredrick Leliman (first accused), Stephen Cheburet (second accused), Sylvia Wanjiku (third accused) and Peter Ngugi (fifth accused) and were all found guilty.
Leonard Mwangi, who was the fourth accused, was acquitted over lack of sufficient evidence that implicates him.
Leliman, Cheburet, Wanjiku, Mwangi and Ngugi had been accused of abducting Kimani and his co-victims on their way home from attending a case at the Mavoko Law Courts that had implicated Lelman.
The prosecution, which produced 46 witnesses in court, said Leliman had unlawfully arrested and shot Josephat Mwenda, a boda boda operator, in April 2015.
Leliman took Mwenda to the Mavoko Law Courts, where he was charged with being in possession of bhang, resisting arrest and gambling.
An aggrieved Mwenda reported the matter to the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) and sought help from the International Justice Mission (IJM).
It was Mwenda’s action that angered Leliman as he felt his job was on the line after IPOA took up the matter and the officer was summoned for questioning.
IJM also came on board and tasked Willie Kimani to defend Mwenda in the case at Mavoko Law Courts.
On the fateful day of June 23, 2016, the three appeared in court for a hearing, not knowing it would be their last day alive.
Ngugi confessed that after the killings, the bodies were put in gunny bags, stashed in two car boots, and dumped in River Athi at Ol-Donyo Sabuk, Machakos County.
On Friday, February 3, Justice Jesse Lessit sentenced Leliman to death saying being a police officer paid to safeguard life, he acted in control of the law.
She added the murder was meant to interfere with the course of justice.
The judge added the victims went through fear torture and excruciating pain as they waited for their turn to be killed.
“They could hear the screams of their colleague knowing that they were next, this must have caused them to fear,” she said.
The judge ruled Lelman was also the one who crafted a sophisticated plan to kill the Mwenda further saying Willie and driver Muiruri was not his target but he killed them too not caring about their life.
Cheburet got 30 years imprisonment, Wanjiku 24 years, and police informer Peter Ngugi 20 years.
The court considered the fact Ngugi’s confession helped the police case.