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Woman, 5 relatives to hang for killing her husband

Tuesday February 12 2019
deathpic

A hangman's noose. Woman and her five relatives to hang for killing man in Kiambu 15 years ago. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By RICHARD MUNGUTI

The Court of Appeal has turned down an appeal by a woman and her five relatives who were sentenced to death for killing her husband in 2004.

Anne Waithera, her son Joseph Maina, her sister Ruth Wanjiru and three other distant relatives were sentenced to die in 2014 for murdering her husband David Macharia for marrying a second wife and over greed for property.

Justice Florence Muchemi found the six guilty of murder.

'FALL OF HUMANITY'

While upholding the death sentence on Tuesday, three appellant judges described the killing of Mr Macharia as “cold-hearted and chilling”.

Judges Philip Waki, Roselyn Nambuye and Patrick Kiage said in their ruling that unless courts stand firmly against such offences, they will be contributing to the fall of humanity.

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They added: “When marriage and family become a mortal peril for spouses, and children kill their parents without blinking, something of our humanity is lost and the law must be deployed and enforced to express our collective horror, revulsion and outrage,”

The judges said perpetrators of such cold-blooded murders must not be allowed to breathe the air of liberty and must never roam freely among the happy and the free who respect the lives of others.

“It is for such cold-hearted killers that the penalty of death was legislated and for whom the courts must declare it. The same was properly imposed and we have no reason to disturb it. We confirm and uphold it," the judges said.

'MARITAL PROBLEMS'

The convicts found Mr Macharia milking his cow in Lari, Kiambu County, and slashed his neck with a panga. They then wrapped his body in blankets, stashed it in two sacks, tied boulders around it and threw it over a water fall deep in a forest.

The three judges said the elimination of Mr Macharia, who had taken a second wife because of incessant marital problems with his first wife, "was a dark mix of jealousy, rage, greed, impatience and pure hatred compounded to turn the marital space into a deadly trap and to convert filial fealty into a grossly cruel patricide".

The judges rejected submissions by defence lawyers Francis Njanja, Robert Mutitu and Gicheha Kamau that the case against the appellants had not been proven beyond reasonable doubt as there were no eyewitnesses and the trial court relied on circumstantial evidence.

The judges disagreed, saying the appellants were correctly convicted on sound evidence and their appeal was devoid of merit.

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