A 26-year-old man who confessed to killing a Catholic priest in Machakos in 2019 has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Michael Muthini Mutunga, who remained calm as Judge Lucy Njuguna of the Embu High Court read the sentence on Thursday, killed Father Michael Kyengo after accusing the priest of sodomizing him.
The 43-year-old priest disappeared from his parents’ home in Tala, Matungulu, Machakos County, on October 5, 2019, only to have his body found in a shallow grave on the seasonal Mashamba River in the sub-county. from Mbeere South, Embu County. , October 16, 2019.
Mutunga had been arrested in the town of Malindi a week earlier while driving the murdered priest’s car.
He then led the police to Embu’s house where Kyengo was reportedly killed.
Police also recovered a knife, believed to have been used to kill the priest, from a pit latrine at the suspect’s home.
An autopsy carried out at the Montezuma Monalisa funeral home in Machakos showed that he was stabbed to death.
Mutunga, who was the prime suspect, therefore helped police arrest his suspected accomplices, Solomon Mutava, 44, and Kavivya Mwangangi, 25.
Detectives said Mutunga told them he had had an intimate relationship with the priest.
“The court noted that the accused is a first offender. It also took into account that he had remorse … that he acted out of anger and sorrow,” Judge Njuguna said.
Judge Njuguna added: “He asked the court to consider why he did justice himself, but there is no justification for committing the offense, even assuming the deceased had it. sodomized. He shouldn’t have taken the life of the deceased. ”
Prior to the ruling, state attorney Leah Mate submitted the pre-sentence report which showed the priest’s immediate family had been injured by his death.
His mother and three brothers, with Down’s syndrome, relied entirely on him.
The priest had also adopted a son who was in college at the time of his death. It too is part of the collateral damage, the court said.
According to the report, the priest’s family wanted the accused to serve his sentence before he could engage in any form of cultural negotiations, under Kamba customary law, for any form of restitution and compensation. The judge also considered it.
Mutunga had asked for a non-custodial sentence but his conduct, the judge said, had betrayed him.
“He unjustly enriched himself with the money he withdrew from the M-Pesa and the deceased’s bank account for an amount of Sh 400,000 in a few days. He also took possession of the deceased’s motor vehicle for his own use regardless, “said the judge. .
“This is a case where the accused deserves a dissuasive sentence. He is sentenced to 30 years in prison,” Judge Njuguna said.
At one point, the early childhood development education intern raised his hand while the sentence was being handed down, possibly to say something, but lowered it after his lawyer advised him to do so.
The judge said that although she considered Mutunga’s attenuation that his action was motivated by a same-sex relationship that the late priest, who worked at Thatha parish in Masinga, had forced him into, it was not enough reason to take the life of the clerk.
Father Kyengo’s mother Juliana Waiyua, 76, and other family members sat thoughtfully as the sentencing continued. They were joined by members of the Catholic Church who had filled the courtroom.
Nicholas Machuki, a cousin of the late priest, said the family accepted the court ruling.
Father Francis Maundu, from the Catholic Diocese of Machakos, said Kyengo’s death affected the diocese and the entire Catholic fraternity.
He said the church was troubled by the words used by the accused to explain why he had killed the priest.
“It affected the church a lot because it takes more than 10 years to prepare someone to become a priest. The late priest was the only healthy person in his family because his four brothers have Down’s syndrome,” Maundu said afterwards. sentence.
The prosecution also succeeded in securing the release of exhibits recovered from Mutunga, including the late priest’s motor vehicle, 50,150 shillings in cash and a Rolex watch.
The case against Mwangangi and Mutava, the second and third defendants respectively, will continue on November 17.
Kyengo was buried on October 25 in the cemetery of the Katoloni Pastoral Center in Machakos in a moving mass led by the bishop of the diocese at the time, Norman King’oo.