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Suspects deny killing Catholic Bishop in Isiolo

09 May 2014, 08:17 Millicent Kawii

Nairobi - Nine years later, six suspects in the murder trial of Isiolo Catholic Bishop Luigi Locati still claim innocent as defense hearing and final submissions ended yesterday.

The suspects’ including former Catholic priest Father Guyo Waqo Malley and Mohammed Molu Bagajo, Aden Ibrahim Mohamed, Mahati Ali Halake, Diqa Wario and Roba Balla Bariche were charged in 2005 over the death of the 76-year-old deceased in a case which saw High Court Judge Weldon Korir testify.

Through their lawyers they denied being directly linked in that murder whose trial has been heard by several judges.

The six have all along claimed they were forced by the police to confess to having committed the murder after being severely tortured and later falsely identified at a parade in a video produced in court as evidence.

The accused also claim that the gun produced in court as the one used to commit the crime does not link them to the murder as well as the motive behind the killing has not been established.

However prosecution denied the entire claims by the six accused.

“The accused persons freely and voluntarily participated in the investigations, they all looked relaxed, comfortable and free; a beaten person would not look like that,” said prosecutor Jackton Ochieng’.

Prosecution said that even though all the suspects were not arrested at the scene the exhibits of the gun and the video produced links them all as well as their self serving confessions besides a G3 magazine found at the crime scene that linked Mohamed and Bariche.

Bariche’s lawyer Onchari Ombongi said he worked with a community based organization which dealt with family affairs and engaged in potato business hence on the alleged date of the crime, he was away.

Mr. Ombongi dismissed claims that Bariche’s vest, t-shirt and jacket had also been produced in court linking him as a suspect yet he only agreed ownership to the jacket and having worn it that fateful day saying that the vest and t-shirt were torn yet his were not.

He had argued that even if they were to be his, the jacket would be the one torn and not the t-shirt and vest since they are worn before the jacket.

Halake is believed to have been recruited by Fr. Guyo and acted as leader of the rest but he claimed he was 17 then and even if he were the leader details of how the rest got paid has emerged yet he is excluded.

Fr.Guyo who allegedly masterminded the murder plot claimed he had a cordial relationship with the late priest amidst claims by investigation officer Mohammed Amin that he had a sour relationship with the bishop who had asked him to stop soliciting for donor funds and this did not go down well with him.

In the video the accused admitted to having been armed with three guns loaded with ammunition and were to be paid KES 30,000 although the gun presented in court is not the one that killed the deceased.

Bishop Locati was killed by gunmen who stormed into his house and shot him.

Justice Fred Ochieng is set to rule on the case.

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