A former prison warden accused of being behind the murder of Githongo Law Courts Magistrate Caroline Kemei’s daughter has been sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Benson Kimathi was sentenced on Monday by Chuka High Court judge Lucy Gitari.
Delivering the judgment, justice Gitari said all evidence adduced in court proved beyond reasonable doubt that Kimathi murdered 9-year-old Maribel Kapolon in September 2018 after a failed relationship with her mother.
Kimathi was charged alongside Francis Otundo who is said to have made a call to the girl’s family demanding a ransom of Ksh.500,000 days after she went missing before her decomposing body would later be found dumped in Gitoro forest in Meru.
Justice Gitari released Otundo conditionally for one year after it was discovered that he was only an opportunist who wanted to scam the mother but was not in way involved in the girl’s murder. The judge said for the time the second accused has been in custody has served as a lesson to him and thus released him. She condemned the act as the most unfortunate, noting that the girl died in a painful way for a mistake she didn’t commit, adding that the offence deserved such a severe punishment.
The court heard that the main suspect and the girl’s mother had parted ways after being together in an affair that did not materialize. Before the magistrate and the suspect fell out, her daughter had become so close with the suspect that he would at times pick her at a petrol station in Meru town where Consolata Primary School bus used to drop her in the evening.
The same happened on the fateful day on September 6, 2018, but this time the suspect did not take the girl home, causing the family to be distressed after they failed to trace her.