High Court of Kenya in Nakuru has found Jane Muthoni, the widow of Kiru Boys’ High School Principal Solomon Mwangi, guilty of his murder. Also convicted is Muthoni’s co-accused, Isaac Ng’ang’a, alias Gikuyu.
The prosecution of a then headmistress at Icaciri Secondary School in Kiambu, who allegedly hired assassins in November 2016 to kill her spouse Solomon Mbuthi Mwangi, was heard at the Kiambu High Court.
Mrs. Muthoni claimed that on Nov 6th, she was called by abductors via phone and reported the matter to the police. The abductors later switched off their phones after realizing that the police were trailing them. The widow, however, failed to tell the court the amount of ransom the abductors were demanding.
Muthoni denied claims by the court that her husband was murdered on the 6th of November 2016, or on the 9th of November 2016, given that they talked on the said dates. She also denied her participation in the murder conspiracy.
Joseph Njuguna, a convict-turned-state witness who spew the beans on the murder plot narrated to the police in his confession how he was contacted by a woman identified as Damaris, with a ‘well-paying job offer.’ Damaris had been contracted by the widow Ms. Muthoni – now the suspect – to hire gunmen
Ms. Muthoni had suspected that her late husband was having an affair with another woman, an M-Pesa shop attendant.
Mr. Joseph Njuguna, currently serving his five-year jail term at Kamiti Maximum Prisons for manslaughter, told investigators and the court that the primary murder scheme was to kill a female M-Pesa shop attendant in Kiriaini.
Mr. Njuguna was to be paid Sh100.000 executing the job. The scheme failed when the killers toured their supposed target in Murang’a and cosmetically ordered a soft drink and walked away due to the risks involved. The M-Pesa shop was next to a police station and an Equity Bank.
Muthoni gave the hitmen a down payment of Ksh50,000 each and asked them to wait for the next assignment. After four months she resolved to go for Plan B which was to assassinate her husband.
At about 10 pm on the said date Mr. Solomon Mbuthi the principal of Kiru Boys High School in Kiriani, Murang’a Country was about to go to bed in a well-protected teachers’ quarters when he received a shocking guest.
His wife Jane Muthoni had arrived home with two hitmen whose mission was to terminate his life over alleged infidelity. The court was informed that the two men were left in her tinted car, awaiting the signal.
The wife then proceeded to the kitchen to make a glass of milk for her husband. The idea was to lace it with drugs to make him unconscious, then call her assassins to finish the job.
The two gunmen, identified as Joseph Kariuki alias Karis and Isaac Ng’ang’a, remained patiently in her tinted car, awaiting the signal.
The plan failed hours later when Muthoni came out of the house, appearing very disturbed claiming that the drug had failed, and suspended the mission.
Strangled to death
On November 6, when the children had gone to church, the couple drove towards Ndarugo at Uriithi. Muthoni had already drugged her husband with a stronger sedative. The drug was slowly taking effect.
At Ndarugo, they were joined by Kariuki and Ng’ang’a, who Muthoni introduced as the ‘land agents’. The men got in the car to lead the couple to the plots on sale. After driving for a while towards Karakuta Coffee Estate, Muthoni swiftly stopped the car and signaled Mr. Ng’ang’a to act.
Without wasting time, he grasped a sisal rope, tied it around Mbuthi’s neck, and strangled him to death. They then dragged him to a thicket in the coffee plantation, sat him upright, tied his hands from behind, and tied the rope to a tree.
Mwangi’s body was later retrieved in the farm following a five-day search led by Muthoni, his wife who failed to pay the hired criminals a balance of Ksh300,000 leading to the leakage of the scheme.
Guilty of murder
Muthoni and Ng’ang’a denied the charges but Kariuki pleaded guilty and consented to be a state witness. Justice Joel Ngugi sentenced him to seven years in 2017.
The prosecution heard from 21 witnesses including Mr. Kariuki, the principal’s family, and staff, and experts from Safaricom and Airtel, and finally Chief Inspector Clement Mwangi of the homicide department based at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations headquarters in Nairobi.
All the 21 witnesses linked the accused to the murder. The data also placed the suspects at the same point during the murder.
“Mr. Kariuki’s detailed account of the murder plan and their activities from June 2016 to the date of Mwangi’s death corroborate the Safaricom and Airtel IT experts’ testimonies,” said Mr. Mwangi.
On Thursday the court found Muthoni and Ng’ang’a guilty. They will be sentenced on May 18, 2021.