Growing up in a small mid-end estate in Thika, I’d always had dreams and ambitions of making it in life. We all do. I didn’t know how, but I was certain I’d be famous, or known for something. A successful techpreneur from an obscure town who revolutionised the computer industry in Sub-Sahara Africa? Maybe. Just like Steve Jobs did with Apple back in Sao Paulo.
My mother raised us with the belief that it’s not what you become, but how and most importantly why.
As a young African kid growing up in the nineties and early two thousand, all I wanted was to put my country on the world map. Not for all the wrong reasons like our political class does, but for positive influence. “You have to be fearless my children,” mum always said, “and stand for what you believe in, regardless of the circumstances.”
She believed that for a person, the most important thing is the legacy they leave behind after their demise. Something that will outlive them.
Chief suspect in a high-profile murder case wasn’t one of them.
The last day of January 2021 would be one of my worst.
The previous evening, a Saturday, I drove to the CID offices to record a statement. Pretty standard procedure. My lawyer was present. I was innocent, of course, and had nothing to worry about. But things started turning when I failed a polygraph exam. In the detectives’ view, I was hiding something, and they were determined to find out what. To be honest, I was just nervous. A lot was happening in my life. In a span of just 24 hours, my mum had been critically injured in a grisly road accident, my wife was admitted due to complications with her pregnancy, my mistress had been murdered and I was the chief and only suspect. And I just found out she was the daughter of a governor. Ooh and my affair was now not a secret anymore. But that was the least of my worries.
While still at the CID, the pathologist’s report came in.
Dee had been sexually assaulted prior to her murder. DNA testing of the genetic material obtained from the rape kit was inconclusive. This was bad because it was one of the ways I could have been eliminated as a suspect. I was 100% sure it wasn’t me. The test results would have proved that. For all I know, I did not even touch her, okay maybe I did, but sex? No! We never got to that, thank God.
The coroner also noted blunt force trauma to her skull. He concluded that she had been hit hard with something in the head which rendered her unconscious for a while. But the obvious cause of death was the lacerations and cuts to her neck. The carotid arteries were both severed. The jugulars as well. Add to that the fourteen stab wounds to her torso. It wasn’t clear how the sequence of events took place.
She had defensive wounds to her hands and elbows. She clearly fought off the attacker but in vain.
Manner of death: homicide. No surprises there.
What was shocking, however, even to me, was that she had a nine-week foetus in her.
As the detectives put it, this was clearly a crime of passion. Or was it? But all pointers were towards me, the boyfriend. Premeditation was out of the question. The assumption was that we had sex, then an argument, probably involving my marriage to Maya, and things got out of hand. One thing lead to the other.
I found all this preposterous, to say the least. But my opinion didn’t matter at this point. The experts had spoken. And the evidence was there to back their findings.
Forensics were yet to hand in their reports. Maybe they could find something exonerating. A foreign hair follicle that did not belong to me or Dee, some fingerprints, footprints maybe? Foreign blood from the actual killer maybe? Fingers crossed. Still this was a long shot because it was after all a hotel room. Many customers had obviously occupied it within the past few days and any one of them could have left some trace evidence behind. That couldn’t necessarily make them killers, but it was definitely something worth looking into.
With the prevailing evidence, the CID applied for an emergency warrant to search my house, office and car. From the looks of it, they already had a judge waiting and within hours my Allion was impounded, and agents swarmed my house and workstation. All this happened while I was still being grilled by Detective Kipng’etich and another rookie called Boinet. Both had now taken off their coats and their sleeves were rolled up to their elbows. This was business.
To be honest, I’d have granted them access to my house, but the idea of a warrant and storming in like ninjas seemed to excite them.
Denise was leading the teams on the field ops which simultaneously executed the warrants in my home and workplace.
They’d also subpoenaed Safaricom for my phone records: calls, texts and M-PESA transactions.
Of course Oduor tried his best to fight them off. But the muscle behind this particular investigation was unlike anything my lawyer had seen before. There was a familiar force to it though, this was definitely the government bulldozing shit. The daughter of one of their own had just been brutally massacred. They were now on the offensive. It was expected.
After hours of exhausting interrogation, Kipng’etich and Boinet seemed lifeless. So was I. A few minutes past midnight, I was handcuffed, for the first time in my life, and taken to a holding cell within the building. This was obviously not necessary but the detectives seemed to enjoy the theatrics.
January 31st, would be my first of many nights behind bars. My lawyer left and assured me he’ll be back early morning. Being Sunday, I’d be spending it in custody awaiting my day in court the day after.
It was a long night.
The next day, Odour came in at around 08:00 am. He was with Sisinei who was trying hard not to shed tears.
She had carried some breakfast but still I wasn’t in the mood.
I asked Sisinei not to mention anything about the murder to my mum. She worries a lot, and I didn’t want to overwhelm her, especially not at this moment, given her delicate state. Though I knew her prayers would have helped. Again, I’m not religious but somewhat spiritual. And at a time like this, when you’re facing capital charges, you’d clutch at any straw within arm’s reach.
“I doubt if we can keep this from her for long.” Oduh said as he handed me two newspapers.
The frontpage of the Nairobi Times read, “Mistress’ Murder Mystery.” Dee’s picture is underneath the words in bold, and it almost fills up the page. She’s smiling, innocently, and looks beautiful with her big brown eyes. A helpless victim.
A smaller photo of me from back in college is right next to it. It’s in black and white and it looks like a mugshot of a dangerous criminal. A heartless killer. News editors have a way of exaggerating things and portraying them as they deem fit. Story continues to page two through to five. The writer is Muthoni Janani.
The Standard reads, “Governor’s Daughter Slayed at Seasons.” Said governor’s photo, Dee’s and mine complete the front page.
I finally made the news. But for all the wrong reasons.
Stay tuned for Part 8.