Three escape death, get 30 years for killing

"The DCI and EACC recommended prosecution of some JSC members. But prosecution was stalled by a JSC application to court claiming interference with independence of the commission." /MONICAH MWANGI
"The DCI and EACC recommended prosecution of some JSC members. But prosecution was stalled by a JSC application to court claiming interference with independence of the commission." /MONICAH MWANGI

Seven years ago when he walked with his father back from the market, Janese Ojwang didn’t know it was their last time together.

Their journey was interrupted after two men accosted them and accused his father of being a witch.

The attackers, Juma Otio and Ombura Otio, accused Ojwang’s father Joseph Rasugu of bewitching their sister’s son.

They grabbed Ojwang and his father, and ordered Rasugu to reverse the alleged spell.

Rasugu was assaulted and in no time villagers gathered to witness ‘how witches were killed’. Scared, Ojwang ran away.

At 9pm, the people who were assaulting Rasugu led him to his house, locked him inside together with his wife Elizabeth and set the house on fire. Ojwang watched helplessly as his parents burnt to death.

The perpetrators will serve 30 years in jail, judges ruled yesterday.

Appeal judges Daniel Musinga, Agnes Murgor and Kathurima M’inoti set aside a death sentence imposed on Hellen Anyango, Julius Syonge and Pamela Atieno.

They substituted it with 30-year imprisonment. The three had been charged with the murder of Rasugu and his wife on July 10, 2012, in Onuro village, Ndhiwa, Homa Bay county.

They were found guilty and handed the death sentence, which they appealed against.

The suspects said the High Court judge erred by finding that they were among the people who killed Rasugu and Elizabeth, by holding that they were positively identified at Rasugu’s home while the prevailing circumstances were not conducive for identification.

They faulted the trial court for convicting them on the basis of common intention, which was not proved.

“We set aside the sentence of death and substitute it with a sentence of imprisonment for 30 years from the date of sentence by the trial court, ” the appeal judges ruled.

The suspects have been in jail for the last five years.