Deathbed Conversation: Julius Mwangi's last days and visions of his son, Jowie

Joseph Irungu

Joseph Irungu alias Jowie at the High Court in Nairobi on March 13, 2024 where he was handed a death sentence for the murder of businesswoman Monica Kimani at Lamuria Garden apartment on September 19, 2018.

Photo credit: Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

Julius Mwangi Irungu, the father of Joseph Irungu alias 'Jowie' who was convicted for the murder of businesswoman Monica Kimani, has died. 

Mr Irungu is said to have succumbed to cancer at the age of 64.

The family confirmed that the elder Irungu had been battling cancer before he died on Saturday, June 15 while receiving treatment at Nakuru Level Five Hospital Annex.

Jowie's mother, Annastacia Thaama, told Nation.Africa the family decided to send him to Nakuru Hospital after his condition suddenly deteriorated over the weekend.

"We lost him yesterday and we are still coming to terms with his death. We were taking him to Nairobi for treatment but when his condition suddenly deteriorated, we had to rush him to Nakuru Level Five Annex Hospital for treatment before we could transfer him to Nairobi and sadly he died at the facility," said Ms Thaama.

The deceased leaves behind a widow and four children, including Jowie, who is currently serving a death sentence at Kamiti Maximum Prison for the murder of businesswoman Monica Kimani.

Deathbed confessions

Jowie's sister, Jane Irungu, revealed her last interaction with the father, saying he used to cry a lot over his sons' conviction.

Jane said the father longed to see Jowie out of prison as he wanted to talk to him. She revealed that the father had insisted on being taken to prison to see his son.

On his deathbed, he claimed to have had visions of his son being released from prison.

"He told us that he had seen media reports that his son had been released. He insisted on being taken to the prisons and we had arranged to take him there before his condition deteriorated and he later died," the daughter said.

The family is still in mourning and has yet to make funeral arrangements.

In our earlier interview with Mr Mwangi at his home in Lanet, Nakuru, he opened up about the family's pain and feelings over their son's trial and conviction.

The father felt that his son had been unfairly tried and that the legal process had been unfair to his son.

According to him, someone was determined to push a narrative through the media to frame his son for the murder in order to hide the truth about the real killers of Monica Kimani.

"My son was unfairly tried and convicted. They have made sure that the world is against him and us and now they want to kill him," said Mr Julius Irungu, Jowie's father.

Monica Kimani, then 28, was found murdered at her home in Lamuria Gardens in Nairobi's Kilimani area on 19 September 2018.

Monica had returned from a business trip to the Sudan city of Juba when she was found dead in her home. 

In February this year, Jowie was found guilty of murdering Monica at her Lamuria Gardens home in Nairobi and was sentenced to death on 13 March 2024.

However, Jowie's ex-lover and co-accused, journalist Jacque Maribe, was acquitted after the prosecution failed to prove her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. 

The verdict: a death sentence

Judge Grace Nzioka, who delivered the verdict on March 13, cited overwhelming evidence against Jowie.
"Joseph Kuria Irungu must be sentenced to death for the crime of murder as provided for in section 204 of the Penal Code of Kenya," she said in her ruling.

Justice Nzioka noted that the nature of the killing warranted the maximum penalty.

She said Jowie was not eligible for rehabilitation because the crime was beyond redemption.

"After the offence was committed, there was an attempt to conceal the evidence and the crime caused serious psychological and physical harm to the victim and her family. The prosecution has asked this court to impose the death penalty," she said, reading out the verdict.

The judge also ruled out a non-custodial sentence, saying it would not serve any purpose.

Listing the reasons for her decision, Judge Nzioka said the murder was calculated and premeditated and the nature of the attack left no chance of survival. The judge also said the loss inflicted on Monica's family and the community was profound, before sentencing Jowie to death.

In sentencing him to death, she said she had taken into account human rights issues as enshrined in Section 26 of the Constitution, which states that no person shall be deprived of his or her life.

Justice Nzioka also referred to international instruments on the protection and enhancement of the human rights of the individual.