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Kenya: Death of Key Witness in Journalist’s Murder Case a Hurdle for Prosecutors

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The mysterious death on Tuesday of a senior police officer who was a suspect-turned-key-state witness in the murder of a Star newspaper journalist could present a big challenge for the State in nailing two suspects currently being tried for the killing.

Mr Eric Oloo was murdered in his girlfriend Sabina Kerubo’s house at Nyabeda village in West Uholo location, Ugunja constituency within Siaya County on November 21 last year.

Ms Kerubo, who was at that time the deputy Officer Commanding Station (OCS) at Ugunja police station was initially arrested but set free after the investigators found no evidence to link her to the murder.

She was asked to be a State witness against two brothers, Franklin Lutta and Victor Ogolla. It is said Ms Kerubo was involved in a love triangle with Mr Oloo and Mr Lutta, a theory that is currently being tried in court as one of the motives for the journalist’s murder.

With Mr Oloo dead and Mr Lutta in remand after being denied bail by Justice Roseline Aburili, Ms Kerubo, who was transferred to police headquarters in Nairobi for counselling, moved on.

She initially moved to her parent’s home in Malaa on Kangundo road, before moving out due to constant fights due to her drinking. She then moved a stone’s throw away to Komarock on the same road where her drinking increased. She also got a new boyfriend, Mr Philip Monta.

Found dead

It is Mr Monta who discovered Ms Kerubo’s body on Tuesday. She was found lying on a mattress on the floor with empty glasses and jugs which had remnants of what appeared to be cheap liquor.

“She appeared frail. Next to her body, were empty glasses and jugs of keg,” a police statement about the discovery of her body read in part.

Information about her death was filed at KBC Police Station under the OB Number 17/22/12/2020 by Mr Monta, who identified himself as her boyfriend.

By yesterday, initial investigations showed that Ms Kerubo was drinking too hard and had been spotted at a number of bars at Komarock on the night before she was discovered dead.

Detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) spent the better part of yesterday trying to establish whether there is any foul play. They visited and questioned everyone who is thought to have had contact with the deceased during her last hours.

Mr Monta has since recorded a statement at the KBC police station as detectives on the case and Ms Kerubo’s family await the results of a post-mortem scheduled for today (Thursday).