A prominent Nyeri businessman accused of hiring hitmen to kill his son over domestic quarrel was formally charged with murder alongside four others at the High court in Nyeri.
However, Stephen Kinini Wang’ondu and his accomplices including his driver James Mahinda, Eddy Kariuki, Raphael Wachira and Geoffrey Warutumo denied the charges when they were presented before Judge Florence Muchemi.
The court further ordered the five to be remanded in separate prisons following an application by the prosecution led by State Counsel Duncan Ondimu to give them time to file additional affidavits.
A sixth suspect, Charity Nyawira was earlier on released by a magistrate’s court where the matter was being mentioned before they were referred to the High court for plea taking after a mental assessment report carried out on them at the Kenyatta National Hospital-Othaya Annex revealed that they were fit to stand trial.
Nyawira who was Mahinda’s wife was however ordered to be reporting at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations offices in Nyeri every fortnight. Detectives are planning to turn her into a prosecution witness.
The five are accused of murdering 32-year-old Daniel Mwangi Wang’ondu on the night of December 31, 2020 in Mwiyogo village in Kieni West Sub-county, Nyeri County.
The prosecution further opposed their release on bond, arguing that the security of the accused was at stake given the gravity of the matter.
The suspects will be brought back in court on March 9 for bail application hearing where the prosecution is also expected to furnish the court with reasons for opposing their release on bond.
Wang’ondu is said to have hired assassins to kill his son after they differed over his (son) divorced wife whom he had brought back home and even established for her a business. It is also alleged that the businessman was in love with his son’s estranged wife.
According to police reports, the deceased was murdered after celebrating the New Year’s Eve with friends at a local pub in Mweiga Town with his father being the prime suspect.
The businessman is said to have consulted his driver and personal assistant on a plan to execute his son and thereafter paid the four hitmen Sh. 160,000.
The suspects were arrested on February 20, two of them in Githurai and Pipeline estates in Nairobi while the rest were arrested in Mweiga and Embu Town.
by Samuel Waititu