Murder suspects seek plea bargain for lesser charges

Wednesday, December 4th, 2019 00:00 |
Festus Kimutai,   who is on trial for the killing of his  11-year-old son. Photo/PD/Jimmy Gitaka

Festus Kimutai has been at the Eldoret GK Remand Prison for the last three years and four months over the murder of his 11-year-old son.

Kimutai, a trained teacher, was arrested by police in Kapsowar area of Elgeyo Marakwet county after he was accused of strangling his son.

He says he was too drunk to comprehend what he had done and only came to his senses after spending the night at Kapsowar Police Station. 

“I had gone out on a drinking spree and came back home in the evening and found  my son playing in the compound. Without any provocation, I lifted him up with my hands and then strangled him,” he recounts.

Kimutai is among 200 remandees who have made a request for plea bargaining with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in exchange for shorter jail terms.

He says he is remorseful for his actions and adds that he has learned enough lessons for the period he has been in remand.

The 34-year-old remandee spoke at the Eldoret High Court grounds during the launch of Plea Bargaining Service Week. The event was presided by Justice Stephen Githinji of the Criminal Court.

Plead guilty

Eunice Nafula, a murder suspect, is also pursuing plea bargain with the DPP.

Nafula, who hails from Trans Nzoia county, said she was arrested last year in connection with the killing of her stepson aged four. She said on the fateful day, she had quarrelled with her co-wife.

“I vented my anger on my stepson by strangling him to death ,” she says.

Justice Githinji said the plea bargaining  is one of the approaches the Judiciary has embraced to reduce backlog of cases in courts. It is expected to ease more than 2,000 cases related to murder that have piled up at the High Court.

“I am happy to report that 200 remandees have enrolled for this initiative which allows them to plead guilty of the charges, for the court to hand them lesser  sentences, even warrant them non-custodial sentence,” he said on Monday.

Some 150 of the beneficiaries will plead guilty to their charges at the High Court tomorrow while the others will be recharged and plead guilty before the Eldoret Chief Magistrate’s Court. Justice Githinji said all measures have been put in place to avert abuse of the process.

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