30-years In Jail For A Kenyan Man Who Killed A Priest

The main suspect in the brutal killing of Catholic priest Michael Kyengo, was on Thursday sentenced to 30 years in prison, at the Embu Law Courts in Eastern Kenya.

The suspect, Michael Mutunga who brutally murdered Fr Kyengo by strangulating him before slitting his throat open, confessed to killing the clergyman on the night between October 8 and 9, 2019.

The priest’s body was discovered in a shallow grave on the riverbed of Mashamba seasonal river in the area.

“In yet another murder puzzle cracked by DCI’s homicide division, a blow-by-blow account of how the cleric’s killer planned and executed the murder most foul was documented and presented before lady justice Lucy Njuguna, at the Embu high court.

Confronted by the overwhelming forensic evidence, cybercrime analysis from our cyber sleuths, backed up by expert opinions from scientists based at the DCI forensic lab and the government chemist as well as witness accounts, from over 10 witnesses, the mastermind of the killing had found himself in a tight corner and opted to plead guilty,” read part of a statement released by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

On October 8, 2019, 40-year-old Father Michael Kyengo, who until his untimely demise was serving at Thatha catholic parish in Masinga, Machakos county, Southeastern Kenya, left home in Tala at around 5pm, headed to Gategi shopping centre in Embu, approximately 128 kilometres from Tala.

He was on his annual leave from his workstation and was overseeing the construction of a perimeter fence at his home.

The cleric was driving his vehicle, a dark blue Toyota Axio and was in constant communication with his killer Michael Mutunga, whom they had known for a period of time.

Unbeknownst to him, Mutunga who had planned to kill him for over two months was leading him to a death trap.

He had bought a gunny bag and a sharp knife way back in August and was only waiting for the perfect time to strike. Father Kyengo arrived at around 9pm and met with Mutunga.

Moments later, the priest was forced into his vehicle with his hands tied using a rope. He was driven to Mashamba seasonal river, 15 kilometres from Gategi shopping centre where the suspect strangled him before slitting his neck using a knife.

The killer knife was one of the key exhibits secured by the homicide detectives, who rummaged through the sludge of a pit latrine and recovered it.

After killing the man of God, Mutunga stuffed his lifeless body in the gunny bag and buried his remains in a shallow grave before driving off using the deceased’s vehicle.

The suspect, using the clergyman’s vehicle then proceeded to Mwea town where he made a Mpesa withdrawal of Sh69,000.

The suspect had in a bid to conceal his actions registered a new sim card, using a stolen identity card belonging to a woman based in Kirinyaga.

The newly registered line transferred and received over Sh280,000 from the priest’s Mpesa accounts immediately after his death.

“Detectives had earlier established that the suspect had demanded for the clergyman’s personal identification numbers moments before he killed him. To confirm whether the PIN numbers were correct, the suspect had sent Sh1,500 to an accomplice,” added DCI.

Mutunga then drove to Embu and hired a driver to take him to Kilifi (coastal part of the country), since he did not have a driving licence and didn’t want trouble with traffic cops along the way.

He had planned to start a new life on the coast, using the money in the priest’s accounts. Upon arrival in Kilifi on October 10, he paid the driver Sh3,000 for the ride.

The suspect who was determined to cover all his trail in the murder proceeded to a garage in the town and had the vehicle’s colour changed from dark blue to white.

But as fate would have it, the suspect was arrested a week later at Kiboko along the busy Nairobi – Mombasa highway, as he tried to sneak to Nairobi.

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