Three men suspected of killing a Kericho couple and their five year old child at their home in Matobo area in the outskirts of Kericho town last month have been charged with robbery with violence before a Kericho court.
Simon Kipngeno Sigei, Simon Kipkemoi Rotich and Lenard Kibet Korir appeared on Thursday before Kericho Senior Resident Magistrate George Kimang’a and denied that on the night of April 1 and 2, 2019, jointly with others not before court, while armed with crude weapons notably machetes, a claw hammer, a Somali sword, a spanner, a chisel, a screw driver and wooden logs, they robbed Benard Kipkirui Langat and his wife Adijah Cherotich before killing them.
As per the charge sheet, the three accused persons are stated to have robbed Bernard Kipkirui Langat of his Infinix mobile phones valued at Sh25, 000. They also stole a Sayonna PPS Woofer valued at Sh10, 500 as well as a National Identity card belonging to Bernard Kipkirui Langat, his NHIF and NSSF card, driving license, East African Community passport, a KCB ATM card as well as Naivas and Pakmart supermarket loyalty cards.
The accused persons were also charged with a second count of violently robbing Adija Cherotich while armed with crude weapons of her Infinix mobile phone valued at Sh28, 000, her NSSF membership card and a KCB card before killing her. They denied committing the offense.
The first accused person Simon Kipngeno Sigei was also charged with an alternative charge of handling stolen property, an offense he denied committing.
The prosecution presented a sworn affidavit with compelling reasons from the investigations officer Julius Kiema that sought to oppose the three accused persons’ release on bond for their own safety due to public outrage.
The prosecution told the court that the first accused person, Simon Kipngeno Sigei has two robbery with violence cases CR 849/19 and CR 1276/19 before him at the Kericho Law court as well at a Nakuru court. He is also a wanted person by police at Sosiot police station, Kericho for a similar case.
As for the second accused person Simon Kipkemoi Rotich, the prosecution revealed that he had committed a series of crimes ranging from murder to robbery with violence in addition to having been previously convicted of murder in 2013 which was later lessened to manslaughter at the Kericho Law court and was sentenced to serve a three year probation sentence.
The court heard that Rotich was out on bond on a robbery with violence case CR 2109/18 and continued to commit similar offenses.
And with regards to the third accused person Lenard Kibet Korir, a resident of Matobo village, the prosecution told the court that he had received death threats together with his family and therefore the prosecution was apprehensive that he may be lynched by members of the public if released on bond.
The accused persons told the court that it was their constitutional right to be granted bond. A determination on their bond application will be made on 7 May 2019.
“Following submissions made by the prosecution and all the three accused persons, I want to make an informed decision on the matter on May 7,” said Kimang’a.
The court directed that the suspects be remanded at the Kericho GK main remand prison.
The three accused were said to have forcefully gained entry into the family home situated at Matobo area, outskirts of Kericho town on the night of April 1 and 2 this year by cutting the window grills. Upon entry, they attacked and killed Bernard Langat, his wife Adijah Cherotich and their five year old son, leaving behind a three month old baby girl.
If convicted, robbery with violence in Kenya carries a mandatory death sentence.
By Sarah Njagi