Former Prison Guard Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison For Murdering Magistrate’s Daughter

A file image of a judge's gavel. [PHOTO | COURTESY]

A man has been sentenced to 40 years in jail for the murder of Githongo Law Courts Magistrate Caroline Kemei’s daughter.
Chuka High Court judge Lucy Gitari condemned Benson Kimathi, a former prison warden, on Monday.

In his decision, Justice Gitari stated that every evidence presented in court indicated beyond reasonable doubt that Kimathi killed Maribel Kapolon, 9, in September 2018 following a failed relationship with her mother.

Kimathi was accused with Francis Otundo, who is believed to have called the girl’s family days after she went missing, seeking a ransom of Ksh.500,000 before her rotting body was discovered buried in Meru’s Gitoro woodland.

Justice Gitari conditionally freed Otundo for a year when it was revealed that he was merely an opportunist who sought to swindle the mother but was not involved in the girl’s death.

The court stated that the time spent in detention by the second accused served as a lesson to him and thus freed him.

She called the deed the most heinous, saying that the girl died in agony for a mistake she didn’t make, and that the crime warranted such a harsh sentence.

The court heard that the primary suspect and the girl’s mother had split up after being involved in a failed romance.

Her daughter had gotten so close to the suspect before the magistrate and the suspect fell out that he would sometimes pick her up at a gas station in Meru town where the Consolata Primary School bus used to leave her off in the evening.

The same thing happened on September 6, 2018, however this time the suspect did not take the girl home, leaving the family to be upset after they were unable to locate her.

Her classmates stated the girl had been chosen by someone she referred to as “Uncle,” and because it wasn’t the first time they’d seen them together, they assumed they were linked in some manner.

Her corpse was discovered in Gitoro Forest 11 days after she went missing.

A post-mortem examination of the 9-year-old girl’s body revealed that her assailants beat her in the head multiple times, causing significant injuries that led to her death.

The accused has 14 days to file an appeal against the sentence.

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