An inmate at the Nyeri’s King’ong’o Prison accused of strangling his cell mate to death has been sentenced to seven years in jail.
Justice Florence Muchemi found Peter Mwangi guilty of causing the death of his roommate Peterson Mwandia alias Kamure on November 19, 2019 at the maximum prison section.
At the time, the two were serving life sentences after they were found guilty of robbery with violence. Mwandia was convicted in 2017 by a Magistrates Court in Kirinyaga. Mwangi was acquitted last year following an appeal before he was arrested again and charged with murder following the death of his roommate.
While delivering the ruling, Justice Muchemi noted that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had reduced the murder charge to man-slaughter.
She noted that the accused admitted to causing the death of a fellow prisoner through a plea-bargaining agreement that he had signed.
The judge said that she considered the mitigating factors presented in court by the accused’s lawyer, Zachary Gichuki.
“The court cannot lose sight of the fact that the family of the deceased must have suffered psychological and emotional stress due to the loss of a loved one,” said the judge.
The prosecution had proposed that the suspect be sentenced to five years in jail. But the accused, through his lawyer Gichuki, requested for a non-custodial sentence arguing that Mwangi had been in jail since 2012.
He said that sending his client to jail would deny him the chance to integrate and be useful to society.
“Besides, he is remorseful and regrets the death of his cellmate,” said the lawyer.
An investigating officer’s report produced in court by Sergeant Gladys Karaya, revealed that Mwandia had died of strangulation.
Ms Karaya said that the post-mortem showed that the deceased had been strangled using a blue bed sheet.
The investigations had established that head counts of all the prisoners done on the evening of November 18, 2019 at 4pm, 6pm and 7pm showed that all the inmates were safe and healthy.
According to the investigating officer, even after reporting of Mwandia’s death to the prison management, none of the officers were allowed into the cell until the police interviewed Mwangi who lived with the deceased in cell number three Block C at the Maximum Prison.
But on November 18, 2019, she said that the deceased had spent his day at block B before he returned to his cell for routine head count at 4pm. After the roll call, the two roommates are said to have left for supper.
Mwangi said that after supper, they took a drug called Cosmos before retiring to bed.
He claimed to have found the body of his roommate with a bed sheet tied around the neck before he alerted the prison officers guarding the block.