It was a day of reckoning in the courts as the fate of four accused murderers was sealed with a gavel’s thud. The suspects, Fredrick Leliman, Stephen Cheburet, Sylvia Wanjiku, and Peter Ngugi, were charged with the heinous killing of Nairobi lawyer Willie Kimani, and finally, justice was served.
In a ruling that sent shockwaves through the courtroom, Judge Jessie Lessit sentenced Leliman to death, while Cheburet was locked up for a cool thirty years. Wanjiku was handed a 24-year prison term, while the police informer, Ngugi, got 20 years to reflect on his actions.
Judge Lessit took into account the fact that Wanjiku was the youngest in the group and a junior at the time of the crime, but stated that she played a role that was not dismissible. Meanwhile, Ngugi’s confession was instrumental in cracking the case and as Judge Lessit put it, “he didn’t paint anything white that was black.”
The prison department was instructed to take into account the time each suspect spent in custody during the case, and the four were given two weeks to appeal the ruling and their convictions.
The case of Lawyer Willie Kimani began in 2015 when his client, boda boda rider Josephat Mwenda, was accidentally shot by officer Leliman. In a quest for justice, Mwenda was subjected to threats and intimidation from the officer, leading Kimani to take up the case in 2016 after Mwenda was falsely accused and charged in court.
After years of hearings, Lessit found the four guilty of murder on July 2022, and on February 3, 2023, the justice system finally caught up with them. The bodies of Kimani, Mwenda, and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri were found dumped in a river in Ol Donyo Sabuk in July 2016, bringing closure to a harrowing chapter in Kenyan history.