Margaret Mbitu murder: Court detains suspect pending extradition to the US

Kevin Adam Kinyanjui Kang’ethe at the Milimani Law Courts on January 31, 2024, in connection with the murder of his girlfriend in the US in October 2023.

Photo credit: Richard Munguti|NMG

What you need to know:

  • The DPP said Mr Kang'ethe is being investigated for first-degree murder which violates Massachusetts general law
  • Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Zainabu Abdul remanded the suspect and said that the charges he faces are serious

A man who allegedly murdered his girlfriend in the United States of America in October 2023 and fled to Kenya has appeared in court and will be held in police custody for 30 days as the Director of Public Prosecutions prepares extradition proceedings.

Mr Kevin Adam Kinyanjui Kang'ethe alias Kevin A Kang'ethe, who was arraigned at Milimani Law Courts, will cool his heels at Muthaiga Police Station pending his extradition to the US.

The suspect is accused of killing Margaret Mbitu, 31, in October last year. 

Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Zainabu Abdul remanded the suspect and said that the charges he faces are serious. She said the police need to be given time to complete investigations.

"The application by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for 30 days to carry out investigations has merit and, is hereby allowed," said the magistrate.

First-degree murder 

While applying for the detention of the suspect, the DPP said Mr Kang'ethe is being investigated for first-degree murder which violates Massachusetts general law (GL), Chapter (C) 265 section (1) under the laws of the US.

The suspect is alleged to have murdered Ms Mbitu by stabbing her several times on the face and neck.
He is then alleged to have locked her up in a vehicle parked at a garage at Boston Logan International Airport before he fled to Kenya.

The suspect was arrested on January 30 in Parklands, Nairobi County, and detained at Gigiri Police Station before being taken to court.

The prosecutor said that on November 2 last year, the Chelsea District Court received an application for a criminal complaint charging Mr Kang'ethe with murder. A warrant of arrest was issued against him.

Kevin Kang'ethe in court for the alleged murder of girlfriend in US

The American court directed that upon his arrest, the suspect should be extradited to the US to face justice.

The investigating officer in Kenya, Patrick Wachira, told the court that the homicide division of the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) received a Diplomatic Note No. 0095 from the US Embassy in Nairobi requesting the Kenyan Government through the Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs to have Mr Kang'ethe arrested and extradited to the US to face prosecution.

As a result, Mr Wachira told Mrs Abdul that the DCI and the Inspector General of Police began looking for Mr Kang'ethe.

"The respondent was arrested on January 30 in Parklands, Nairobi County and booked at Gigiri Police Station vide OB No. 02/30/01/2024 at 12:37am in connection with the ongoing investigation in the murder of Margaret Mbitu in Lowell, Massachusetts on October 31, 2023," said Mr Wachira.

Residents of Massachusetts

The officer told the court that both the respondent and the deceased were residents of Massachusetts and were in a relationship.

Ms Mbitu was a home healthcare aid in the town of Halifax, Massachusetts.

The deceased went missing on October 30, 2023, after leaving her place of work, and efforts by her family to trace her were futile. 

The family made a report of a missing person at Whitman Police Department, which later enlisted the assistance of Massachusetts State Police.

Preliminary investigations found that the deceased left her place of work and travelled to Lowell with Mr Kang'ethe. 

The US police found that the deceased and Mr Kang'ethe travelled to Lowell in a white Toyota Venza on the morning of October 31, 2023.

“The suspect violently attacked and repeatedly stabbed Ms Mbitu on the face and neck, causing catastrophic injuries, which led to her death," Mr Wachira told the court.

Deceased's cell phone

After allegedly killing Ms Mbitu, the suspect is reported to have driven the vehicle to a different location and disposed the deceased’s cellphone in a trash dumpster. He is then alleged to have driven to Logan International Airport and parked the vehicle in a garage with the body of Ms Mbitu concealed under a bag and other items.

On November 1, 2023, police discovered the body of Ms Mbitu in the front passenger seat of Mr Kang'ethe’s Toyota Venza.

The suspect returned to Kenya through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and is reported to have gone into hiding until the police arrested him.

The police said that Mr  Kang'ethe used various phone numbers to call his friends, family members and relatives in the US as well as his friends in Kenya.

Flight risk

Inspector Wachira said that the suspect is a flight risk since he had allegedly run away from the US to avoid prosecution for the murder of his girlfriend.

"He has no fixed abode. Since he fled to Kenya from the US he has not been seen at his home in Thogoto, Kiambu County. He has been hiding from his family and the authorities," said Mr Wachira in his affidavit to the court.

He said that Mr Kang'ethe’s security is at risk because the death of Ms Mbitu overseas has elicited negative public emotions.

He urged the court to allow the police’s request to the suspect detained for 30 days.