JUSTICE IN LIMBO?

Suspects in Meru priest's murder freed

'The investigating officer had gathered crucial evidence from the two which, however, did not implicate them'

In Summary

• The Catholic priest was stabbed twice outside a lodging where he had booked a room to spend the night.

• Two suspects, among them a woman, had been in police custody for seven days.

Valentine Kinoti and Janice Ntinyari
Valentine Kinoti and Janice Ntinyari

Two murder suspects have been released after the prosecution failed to link them to the killing of Meru Catholic priest Euticus Murangiri Muthuri.

 

Senior Meru principal magistrate Thomas Muraguri freed Valentine Kinoti and Janice Ntinyari on Wednesday after prosecutor James Kinyua applied to withdraw the case.

The two had been in custody for seven days. 

Kinyua said the investigating officer had gathered crucial evidence from the two which, however, did not implicate them.

Murangiri, who was based at Limbine Catholic Parish in Tigania West, died on June 4 of stab wounds on the forehead and back of the head. The incident happened at Kinoru Gateway in Makutano shopping Centre, North Imenti.

He was buried at Muujwa Catholic Church grounds in Imenti Central on Monday.

Imenti North DCIO James Githinji told the Star that the two were not out of the hook yet as investigations were ongoing.

“When we finish and if there will be nothing linking the two to the offence, they will be set free for good but in case they are linked, they must be charged,” Githinji said.

 

Githinji said Valentine and Janice will be reporting to DCI offices in Meru town two days a week until the investigations are completed.

“There are several other things we are doing on the same issue. They will be reporting at our offices two days every week until investigations are complete. We didn’t find any compelling reason to continue holding them."

On June 6, 2019, investigating Officer Benson Sindani was granted custodial orders to detain the two at Meru police station for seven days to complete the probe into the murder.

Meru County Police Commander Patrick Lumumba told the Star that the priest was with Janice and another friend before his murder.

“He (priest) went to one of the bars at 4pm in the company of a male and a female. They had some drinks up to about 22.45 hours. They booked a lodging room in the same bar.

"The deceased and the lady had booked one room while the other male booked a separate room at around 1.45am. The deceased came out of the bar and that is where he was stabbed in the forehead and back (of the) head. He died on the spot,” Lumumba said.

The priest had gone to his car, a Toyota Cami, registration KBH 972S.

During the burial, leaders, the clergy and relatives demanded thorough investigations for the successful prosecution of the culprits.