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.
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).
But even as the police in Matungulu, Machakos country try to establish what caused Ms Kerubo’s death, what is clear is that her sudden demise is set to present a big challenge to prosecutors 400 kilometres away in Siaya.
Ms Kerubo, her house help and daughter are key witnesses in the murder of Mr Oloo who was living with the senior police officer when he was murdered.
But with Ms Kerubo dead, the prosecution will now rely on the evidence of the house help and the police officer’s daughter, to nail the two suspects in court. They could also rely on circumstantial evidence, which has proved successful in a number of murder cases, provided the suspects can be placed at the scene of crime and a motive for the murder is admitted.
Police told the court that Mr Oloo accosted Mr Lutta and Mr Ogolla at Ms Kerubo’s house on November 20 last year.
Evidence filed in court says that Mr Lutta and Mr Ogolla overpowered Mr Oloo kicking him and banging him to a wall during the confrontation. The victim’s body was later found on a blood-soaked bed Ms Kerubo’s house on the morning of November 21, 2019.
A postmortem on the journalist carried out by government pathologist Gabriel Juma said Mr Oloo died as a result of excessive bleeding.
“The body had a blunt injury on the head and a severe haemorrhage intra-abdominally as a result of the blunt injury on the abdomen,” said the pathology report.
Mr Oloo had a 23-year-old wife and two daughters, with the youngest being just a week old on the day that he was murdered.