Ex-principal gets 30 years for murdering husband

Friday, June 4th, 2021 00:00 |
Former Icaciri Girls’ High School Principal Jane Muthoni follow proceedings of her sentencing from Kamiti Prison during virtual hearing yesterday. Photo/PD/File

High Court judge Joel Ngugi yesterday described the high school principal who was convicted of murdering her husband as  a“depraved and vengeful spouse and not an accidental killer.”

In a 20-minute sentence delivered virtually, Justice Ngugi enumerated how Jane Muthoni, the former principal of Icaciri Girls High School in Kiambu County, meticulously plotted the death of her husband, Solomon Mwangi, intoxicated him and delivered him to his killers to “finish the job.”

“The killing here was not only premeditated but it involved a high degree of planning. Evidence shows that the first accused person was so intent on having her husband killed that she had arranged for several attempts to have him eliminated.

The picture that emerges from the evidence is one of a depraved and vengeful spouse, not an accidental killer,” noted Ngugi while handing Muthoni and her co-accused, Isaac Ng’ang’a alias Gikuyu, a 30-year jail term each for their role in the murder.

Infidelity suspicion

Scorned by suspicion of infidelity, Muthoni planned and aided the brutal execution of her husband in cold blood, Justice Ngugi noted. 

He stated that Mwangi, then the principal of Kiru Boys High School in Murang’a County, was drugged and manually strangled, first, inside the vehicle and at the ultimate site where his body was found.

“Muthoni solicited the help of a friend, Nelson Magati Njiru, to plan for the murder of her husband.

The plan included the administering of a combination of drugs to stupefy the deceased before strangling him which succeeded on the second attempt,” the judge observed.

He went on; “Muthoni lured the deceased out of the home into the open fields of Karakuta after administering Xylazine, the second accused then took over, manually strangling Solomon Mwangi with a rope which Muthoni had placed in her hired vehicle. 

“The accused persons left the deceased tied to a tree with his hands tethered together with a gunny bag covering his body to die,” he added. 

The act was well knitted to ensure Mwangi was rendered helpless as he died a most brutal death.

The judge observed that the killers’ act of leaving a dying Mwangi in the thicket was premised on the hope that his body would never be found.

“By the time death came the deceased was so weak that he could not plead for mercy; he was then left in a thicket perhaps in the hope that his body would never be found,” he went on.

Justice Ngugi noted that so determined were the killers to eliminate Mwangi that they spurned opportunities to change their minds and let him live.   

“Both the accused had many opportunities to walk back from their heinous plans and with each opportunity they chose the path of death. Muthoni’s actions were not accidental,” he said.  

Stiff sentence

He noted that the accused persons’ actions called for a stiff sentence not only to deter others from committing similar crimes but to also express society’s outrage.

 “This circumstance calls for a very stiff sentence due to the ruthlessness of the murder and its effects on the victims and society and is in this case.

I have come to the conclusion that a stiff custodial sentence is merited as the only suitable way of expressing society’s condemnation of the accused persons’ conduct or deter similar conduct in the future,” ruled Ngugi.

He, however, added that he had considered the fact that the accused persons were first offenders and that Muthoni has young children who need her guidance and care.

Similarly, Ng’ang’a is the sole breadwinner of his young family.

“Having considered all mitigating and aggravating circumstances, I am of the view that the custodial sentence for 30 years for the two accused persons is appropriate.

Consequently, in my view, a stiff sentence properly balances the equation and I hereby sentence each of the accused persons to 30 years,” added Ngugi.  

Sat motionless

All this time, Muthoni, donned in prison attire, sat motionless, gazing at the screen as Justice Ngugi delivered the sentence.

Perhaps anticipating an even stiffer punishment, Muthoni had at the onset of yesterday’s session requested to be furnished with the court’s proceedings, perhaps to prepare an appeal.

“I would like the court to furnish me with all the court proceedings through my lawyer,” she muttered.  

The judge also noted that he had considered the sentiments of Muthoni’s family on how their father’s death and her detention had adversely affected them.

He noted that Muthoni’s sentence would be backdated to November 22, 2016, when she was first arraigned in court and remanded in custody.

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