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Kenyan-born man handed prison term for killing US policeman

Friday November 22 2019

David Njuguna

David Njuguna, 33, in a Boston court for his sentencing on November 21, 2019. He had been found guilty of manslaughter in a crash that killed a policeman. PHOTO | CHRIS WAMALWA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

CHRIS WAMALWA
By CHRIS WAMALWA
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PHILADELPHIA, PA

A Kenyan-born man has been handed a five- to seven-year prison term after he was convicted of killing Massachusetts policeman Thomas Clardy in March 2016.

Local media reports indicate that David Njuguna, 33, was sentenced after “an emotional” series of impact statements from Clardy’s wife, children, sister and mother.

The state trooper’s wife, Reisa Clardy, termed her husband’s death as “truly overwhelming” for the family.

“Because of a selfish and senseless act, his life was cut short,” Ms Clardy said of her husband, adding: “Our stability, our normalcy, our peace of mind, our strength is no longer here.”

In her sentencing, Judge Janet Kenton-Walker told Clardy’s family: “I cannot bring you comfort, I cannot bring you peace, I cannot take the day away, I cannot make it right.”

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According to BostonHerald.com, the judge said her sentence offered “some retribution and some thoughts about rehabilitation”.

SEVERE

Colonel Christopher Mason, superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, said in a statement released after the ruling that a severe punishment would be more commensurate with the murder.

“First and foremost, we are painfully cognisant that no sentence can return Trooper Clardy to those who loved him and love him still. This loss can never be restored, and everyone who loved or worked with Tom would prefer that the law allow for a sentence much more commensurate with the taking of a life under these circumstances.”

Col Mason continued, “Nonetheless we are aware of the sentencing guidelines prescribed by the law and we are grateful for the court’s consideration of the severity of this offence.”

MARIJUANA

Njuguna was convicted on four of six counts after a seven-day trial last month.

Judge Kenton-Walker found Njuguna guilty on counts of involuntary manslaughter, misdemeanour motor vehicle homicide, operating to endanger and driving an uninsured vehicle.

He was found not guilty by the judge on two felony counts — operating under the influence-manslaughter and felony motor vehicle homicide.

Njuguna slammed into Clardy's cruiser, which had been parked during a traffic stop. Prosecutors told the court that Njuguna had been speeding and was high on marijuana at the time of the accident.

The judge, however, said prosecutors failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Njuguna was impaired from marijuana use when he slammed into Clardy’s parked cruiser, despite evidence of the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in his blood and a burnt joint in his car.

Njuguna sat quietly, in a blue dress shirt, tie and glasses, bowing and shaking his head at times, as the impact statements were read.

He stood as the judge’s decision was rendered, and was then escorted out.

He was given credit for 1,283 days served while awaiting trial.