An argument over hard drugs after a bhang-smoking session on the night of Monday, May 13 is what preceded the killing of 24-year-old Murang’a prison warder, Pauline Wangari, the chief suspect in the murder, Joseph Ochieng, has told DCI officers in Murang’a.
The killing happened at Wangari’s rented house in Kiharu, Murang’a County.
According to his confession to detectives — who spoke to EDAILY in confidence — Ochieng, 24, said May 13 was the first time he was meeting face-to-face with Wangari, whom he knew through Facebook.
“He described his relationship with the suspect as ‘just a friendship’,” said the DCI officer handling the case.
“He further claimed that May 13 was the first time he was travelling to Murang’a; and that, it was also his first time to meet the deceased,” added the sleuth.
Ochieng, according to the detectives, travelled from Nairobi Monday morning.
The 24-year-old suspect, born and bred in Kisumu, claims he is an artiste. “That is what pays my bills,” he reportedly told the DCI officers.
According to the suspect, he had an argument with Wangari after she refused to take some hard drugs which he had given her, the DCI said.
Prior to the tiff, the two spent a significant part of Monday evening indoors smoking bhang, the suspect told the DCI.
“As per the suspect’s testimony, he strangled the woman after she refused to take the drugs he was recommending to her. He said the woman, thereafter, fell down with a thud, and he thought he had killed her. Sent into a panic mode following the development, the suspect said he reached for a kitchen knife and stabbed her in the chest, neck and abdomen, and, thereafter, put the knife firmly in her grip in a bid to make it look like Wangari had killed herself,” said the DCI officer.
In his testimony, the suspect further claimed prior to the quarrel, he and Pauline Wangari got intimate. A medical examination on Wangari is yet to authenticate Ochieng’s claims.
The suspect was captured on CCTV cameras entering Pauline Wangari’s house at 9pm on Monday, and he left at 3am on Tuesday.
The cameras showed the suspect carrying the deceased’s large bag, her phone and a TV set.
Ochieng was arrested on a roadblock placed at Kipsitet area in Kericho County on Thursday 5pm.
The suspect was heading to Kisumu in a vehicle owned by a middle-aged woman identified as Mary Amollo Olisa, who has also been arrested. Olisa was driving the car, a Mercedes Benz model, during the arrest. Also in the vehicle, was another middle-aged man identified as Rogers Namukura.
The three were apprehended and driven to Murang’a Thursday evening.
Appearing before Murang’a Resident Magistrate Sheila Nyaga on Friday, May 17, Namukura said Ochieng approached him on Tuesday, May 14 at his Nairobi house and tried to convince him into buying a TV set that “he [Ochieng] had recently acquired”.
Namukura, who claims he knew Ochieng one month ago, said he declined to purchase the TV set.
Mary Olisa, on the other hand, told the court that she is Namukura’s cousin, and that Ochieng had requested to travel with her in her vehicle, given she was heading to Kisumu from Nairobi on Thursday. Olisa said she allowed Ochieng to ride in her car, not knowing he was a murder suspect on the run.
Olisa told the court that she has no problem with her house being combed for any evidence that could link her to the murder. The court allowed police to conduct a search in Olisa’s house.
Detectives, led by the DCI in charge Phoebe Okumu, requested the court to grant them 14 days to conclude investigations.
Resident Magistrate Sheila Nyaga granted the detectives their wish, and set May 30, 2019 as the mention date.
Ochieng’s arrest came barely 24 hours after that of Pauline Wangari’s boyfriend, Peterson Njiru.
Njiru was arrested in Murang’a late Wednesday, and arraigned at the Murang’a Law Courts on Thursday. He did not take plea.
Detectives were allowed 14 days to detain him, but was on Friday, May 17 released on condition that he presents himself to the police should he be needed to file a report.
Pauline Wangari, a constable at Murang’a GK Prison, was found naked on her bed early Wednesday, with her entire bedding soaked in blood. She had been stabbed multiple times in the head, abdomen and neck.
In her lifeless state, a roll of bhang was — ostensibly — placed between her lips, and a kitchen knife firmly clutched in her right hand.
One of Wangari’s friends, who watched the CCTV footage at Murang’a DCI offices on Wednesday, said she knew Ochieng as Wangari’s friend.
Police said Pauline Wangari’s murder was reported at Murang’a Police Station by Murang’a GK Prison lead officer on Wednesday 9am.
The murder scene is 500 meters from the Murang’a GK Prison, police said.
Pauline Wangari’s body was found in the sorry state by her work colleagues, who broke down her door on Wednesday after she failed to report to work on Monday and Tuesday.
“Her body was photographed and moved to the Murang’a County Government morgue awaiting postmortem,” read the police report.