Ex- Kenya Defense Soldier accused of murdering his estranged wife and two children in Nanyuki Town two months ago has pleaded not guilty to the charges at the High Court in Nyeri.
The Kenya Air Force soldier, Major Peter Mugure accused of murdering 31-year-old Joyce Syombua and their two children Shanice Maua, 10 and Prince Michael, 5, denied three counts of murder on Friday, when the matter came up for plea taking before Judge Jairus Ngaah.
When the charges were read to him, Mugure intimated to the court that his conscience could not allow him to take plea as he had several issues he needed to raise first.
The court therefore entered a plea of not guilty and directed the prosecution to provide him with all documentary evidence it was intending to rely on in the matter.
The accused is alleged to have committed the heinous act on October 26, 2019 at Laikipia Airbase alongside others not before court.
Earlier on, the plea taking had been set aside for hours after the accused defense Counsel Cliff Ombeta failed turn up with the prosecution saying that efforts to reach him on phone had not borne fruits.
When the matter was mentioned again, Ombeta never turned up but the family of the accused made frantic efforts and brought on board Lawyer Kimani Njuguna to be on record for the accused.
Njuguna in his brief remarks, applied to be given time to familiarize himself with the case as well as have a discussion with the suspect to know the reasons why he was declining to take plea.
Justice Ngaah directed the matter to be mentioned on January 23 for pretrial conference when a hearing date would be set.
The plea taking had previously been deferred three times, after it emerged that accused had not undergone mental assessment to evaluate his suitability to stand trial.
The murder victims in the case were last seen on October 25, 2019 when they travelled from Nairobi to Nanyuki to visit Mugure at the army barracks before they were reported missing on October 27 at Soweto Police Station.
Their bodies were later found stashed in a gunny bag and buried in a shallow grave in a public cemetery on the outskirts of Nanyuki Town on November 16, 2019 when the suspect led the police to the site.
By Samuel Waititu