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.
Suspect in Murang’a prison warder’s murder attempts suicide
Joseph Otieno Ochieng, the main suspect in the murder of Murang’a prison warder Pauline Wangari, attempted suicide as police searched his rental house in Buruburu, Nairobi County, on Friday.
Muranga County Commander Josephat Kinyua said Mr Ochieng escorted them to the house after they obtained a search warrant.
Mr Kinyua said the suspect lived in that house with his parents and that they went there to look for the TV and laptop that were stolen after the murder.
He told the Nation that as police conducted the search, Mr Ochieng dodged them, took a knife and stabbed himself in the stomach.
Police rushed him to a health centre in the area, where he was admitted.
“He tried to commit suicide but police saved his life. The scan shows that the stab wound is not deep. He is stable.”
Police believe Ms Wangari was killed on Monday night.
Murang’a GK Prison management started looking for her after learning that she had not reported to work.
He body, which had started decomposing, was found in her rental house in Kiharu estate on Wednesday morning.
It is alleged that the main suspect and the deceased were lovers who first interacted on Facebook and then met in Murang’a.
An officer who claimed to have talked to the suspects in the case told the Nation that the murder took place after a quarrel.
“After engaging in sex, they had a quarrel. The deceased was furious with the man and confessed to him that she was a police officer,” the officer said.
“That’s how the suspect ended up strangling her before stabbing her three times and placing the knife in her hands to make it appear that she had committed suicide.”
Mr Ochieng was arrested alongside Lodgers Namkuro and Mary Amollo in Kericho County on Thursday morning as they headed to Kisumu.
Detectives who sought anonymity told the Nation that Mr Namkuro and Ms Amollo found themselves on the police radar since they gave the main suspect a lift to Kisumu, where they were to attend a burial.
“We believe the main suspect fled to Kericho and sought refuge after committing the crime in Murang’a. He asked for a lift to Kisumu since his friend and the friend’s relative were heading there,” an officer told the Nation.
When they were arraigned on Friday, Mr Namkuro told the court that Mr Ochieng approached him, saying he wanted help shooting a music video.
“He came to my house with a television set and since he was my friend and we had plans to assist him in recording a music video, I agreed to give him the lift,” he said.
Investigating officer Phoebe Okomo asked the court to have the suspects detained at Murang’a Police Station for investigations to be completed.
The magistrate said they will be detained there until May 31, when the case will be mentioned.