Kevin Kang'ethe extradition process delayed after he drops his lawyers

Kevin Kinyanjui Kang'ethe

Murder suspect Kevin Kinyanjui Kang'ethe escaped from police custody on February 7 and was re-arrested on the night of February 13.

Photo credit: Pool

What you need to know:

  • The authorities in the US want Mr Kang'ethe to be flown to Boston to face charges of murdering his girlfriend Margaret Mbitu.
  • After committing the murder, the suspect is believed to have stashed Mbitu's body in his car which he left at Boston Airport.

The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) has concluded the extradition proceedings against murder suspect Kevin Kang'ethe.

Mr Kang'ethe is wanted in the US to face justice for the murder of his girlfriend Margaret Mbitu.

State prosecutor Vincent Monda told Milimani Chief Magistrate Lucas Onyina that he has handed over a copy of the extradition proceedings to the suspect's lawyers, Mr David Muthama and Mr Anthony Kago.

However, the court was also informed that the suspect has dropped the two lawyers. Mr Kang'ethe is now defending himself.

This new development has stalled the commencement of the extradition proceedings.

Mr Monda told Mr Onyina that the DPP is keen to conclude the Kenyan proceedings before handing Mr Kang'ethe over to the US authorities to face justice in Boston for the murder of his girlfriend.

The authorities in the US want Mr Kang'ethe to be flown to Boston to face charges of murdering Mbitu, an offence allegedly committed in between October 30, 2023, and November 4, 2023.

After committing the murder, the suspect is believed to have stashed Mbitu's body in his car which he left at Boston Airport.

The request to have the suspect be returned to the US to face justice was presented to the DPP through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in January 2024.

Mr Monda said all the preliminary issues have been completed and now he is ready to table the evidence which will be relied on at the Boston court where Mr Kang'ethe will be charged with first degree murder under the US laws.

However, Mr Monda told the court that he is yet to receive responses from Mr Kang'ethe who has since dropped his lawyers and is acting in person.

Mr Kang'ethe urged the Magistrate to give him time to engage another lawyer. In a brief ruling, Mr Onyina allowed him to look for another lawyer.

He fixed the case for mention on March 1, 2024, for Mr Kang'ethe to inform the court whether he will have managed to hire a new lawyer or not.

Earlier Mr Kang'ethe claimed to have been tortured and his former lawyers never raised the issue before court.

He also lamented that he is not privy to the Investigation being conducted by the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) regarding his escape from Muthaiga Police Station early February.

Mr Monda told the magistrate that the DPP is keen to fast track the extradition proceedings for justice to be done.

The family of the deceased who was a health care giver, expressed disappointment at the pace at which the extradition proceedings are moving.

The victim's lawyer and the aunt to the deceased complained about the delay in concluding the Kenyan court stint.

An aunt to the deceased, Mrs Margaret Njoroge, 70, expressed disappointment at the delaying tactics being employed by Mr Kang'ethe in a bid to stall the murder trial awaiting him.

Mrs Njoroge urged the judiciary to expedite the local proceedings since the deceased's relatives are anxious to have justice for their slain daughter.

"I traveled to the US and saw the heavily mutilated body of Ms Mbitu. One would think she was devoured by a wild animal. She did not deserve to die like that. We need justice for Maggie," Mrs Njoroge said.

The victims' lawyer Ngaruiya Gitau concurred with Mrs Njoroge that the suspect is employing delaying tactics by introducing extraneous matters by seeking his release on bond while the extradition proceedings are underway.

Ngaruiya said they are satisfied that the DPP has compiled the entire extradition file and now the matter is ready for determination.

Mr Kang'ethe was ordered to be remanded at Industrial Area Medium Prison until February 1, 2024.

He was placed at a high-security detention camp after bolting away from Muthaiga Police Station on February 2, 2024, where he was detained awaiting extradition to the US.