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Court Frees Death Row Convict

A man on death row will forever remember January 23 after he walked out of jail a free man following the successful appeal against a death penalty that was handed him 16 years ago.

Kingau Masila could not believe his ears after Machakos Principal Magistrate Yusuf Shikanda read the judgment which effectively quashed the sentence that had seen him spend a total of 16 years behind bars as he waited for his appointment with the hangman.

Kingau used to work as a tout with the Kwitu Express Sacco, a former Machakos-based PSV company before he ventured into private business.

He was however arrested in Sophia market, Matuu Sub County, Machakos County on June 2, 2001 in connection with robbery of household goods and cash of unknown value.

According to the charges, Kingau (jointly with four others) committed the offence when he broke into the house of Mr Reuben Kariuki and robbed him of a radio, bicycle, water tank, jacket and cash.

The accused is said to have been armed with dangerous weapons at the time of committing the offence.

Kingau’s co accused are said to have escaped a police drag net before they could be arraigned in court.

The complainant in the case admitted before the court of having positively identified the convict during the incident while he was testifying in court.

But in his application, Kingau told the court that he had undergone a complete transformation and was ready to go back to the society as a reformed person.

He also said that during his stay in prison he had acquired various skills ranging from  Mason grade I, Mason grade II, Mason grade III, Arc welder grade II, General fitter grade II and EPS penal construction technology.

He argued that the skills would come in handy in rebuilding his broken past besides contributing positively to the society.

He asked the judge to consider that he had children and a wife who needed him to rebuild their strained marriage.

And in what sounded like sweet music to his ears, the court granted his request by noting that the accused had showed genuine remorse at his past mistake and was willing to open a new chapter as a reformed person.

Shikanda also said he had considered the fact that the accused had acquired vital practical training skills while in prison which he can utilize not only to enable him eke a living for his family but also contribute to the greater good of the society which he had left more than a decade ago.

“I have considered the fact that the man before the court has not only exhibited a changed lifestyle but also acquired practical skills which he can put into usefulness once he rejoins the society. The court has also considered the fact that he is a first offender and the goods in question were eventually recovered. This court subsequently orders the man set free,” read part of Shikanda’s ruling to the delight of the accused.


By Samuel Maina and Anastacia Sila

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