Jacktone Odhiambo charged with murder in Edwin Chiloba's case

Jacktone Odhiambo

Jacktone Odhiambo in the dock on February 8, 2023.

Photo credit: Titus Ominde | Nation Media Group

acktone Odhiambo was Wednesday charged with the murder of LGBTQ activist and fashion model Edwin Kipruto alias Chiloba but denied bond pending a pre-trial report.

Odhiambo who is the key suspect in the murder of the former University of Eldoret student was arraigned before Justice Reuben Nyakundi at the High Court in Eldoret on Wednesday and denied the charge. The court last week ordered his mental assessment at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) before he could be charged with the murder.

During Wednesday's court session, family members and friends of the late Chiloba jammed the court.

The State Counsel objected to Odhiambo’s release on bond pending a pre-trial report to ascertain whether he qualifies to be released on bond.

“The republic is opposed to the release of the accused on bond. We are yet to compile a pre-bail report to ascertain whether he is fit to be released on bond,” Mike Mogun, State Counsel.

Defense counsel Mathai Maina opposed the application by the State to deny his client's bond saying it was too early to object to bond release before the defense makes an application.

However, Justice Nyakundi allowed the State to oppose the release, noting that the defense will have time to interrogate the basis of bond denial even after being opposed.

“The application by the State to object the accused from being released on bond will not prejudice your application challenging the same. The State will be able to serve you with a pre-bail report among other committal bundles to be relied on during pre-trial for you to respond and challenge the application to deny your client a bond,” said Justice Nyakundi.

The State Counsel told the court that the prosecution was yet to compile all required inventory reports concerning the murder before determining whether the accused can be released on bond.

Mr Mogun told the court that they are yet to recover five more important documents as part of inventory to be used in a pre-trial report, hence the State was reluctant to release the accused on bond.

“We are yet to recover five more documents linked to the character of an accused concerning this case. Some of the documents which are still pending will help us in preparing a pre-trial report,” said Mr Mogun.

The court was further told that the prosecution is yet to recover five more important documents expected to help in the prosecution of the case.

The five documents include a topological report, call data records, a scene mapping report, an inventory of the recovered items belonging to the deceased, and an Mpesa statement, the State Counsel told the court.

Justice Nyakundi told the prosecution to prepare a pre-trial report and serve the defense with all required documents ahead of the pre-bail report before the pre-trial conference.

Mr Odhiambo is accused of killing Mr Chiloba between December 31, 2022, and January 3, 2023, at Noble Breeze Apartments in Chebisaas within Moiben Sub County.

Mr Chiloba’s body was found stuffed inside a metal box on the Kipenyo-Kaptinga road in Mokombet village, Uasin Gishu County on January 4, 2023.

During A homicide visit by detectives from homicide experts in early January at Kahoya Estate, Eldoret, where the parents of the accused live, police recovered several items that were said to belong to Chiloba.

The murder attracted global attention, with US State Department spokesperson Ned Price urging Kenyan authorities to thoroughly investigate the brutal murder.

“We urge and expect the Kenyans to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into his death,” Mr Price told the Washington Blade during a press briefing.

“And of course, if there’s anything we can do to assist, we stand ready to do that,” Mr Price was quoted by the Washington Blade, an LGBTQ newspaper.