Kisumu Man Freed, Months After Killing Wife’s Lover

File photo of Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi
File photo of Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi.
Judiciary of Kenya

A Kisumu man was set free after serving an 18-month prison sentence for killing his wife's lover in a crime of passion. 

The case, which has captivated the local community, highlights the complex interplay of emotion and justice.

On the evening of December 6, 2022, COO, a boda boda rider, returned to his home in Manyatta Estate, Kisumu County, only to discover his wife in bed with a neighbour, identified as EMO. 

Overwhelmed by rage, COO attacked EMO with a panga, inflicting fatal injuries. According to COO's testimony, he lost control and only remembered surrendering himself to the police afterward.

Despite repeated warnings to EMO to stay away from his wife, the illicit affair continued unabated.

 COO's return from visiting his sick child in the hospital that evening ended in tragedy when he found his wife and EMO in a compromising position.

 The court heard that COO, who was known for his caring nature, was driven to a moment of temporary insanity upon the discovery.

Justice Roselyne Aburili of the Kisumu High Court sentenced COO to 18 months in prison, applying the law of insanity. 

The court concluded that COO did not have malice aforethought, as his actions were driven by an uncontrollable rage induced by the situation. 

Dr. Lucy Ombok, who conducted the autopsy, testified that EMO died from severe bleeding caused by multiple deep cuts, particularly around the neck.

In court, COO explained that he had gone to the hospital to bring milk for his ailing child. Upon finding his child alone, he called his wife, who claimed she had returned home to care for their other unwell child. 

Suspicious and concerned, COO decided to check on them at home, where he discovered the affair.

Police tape marking a crime scene during investigations.
Police tape marking a crime scene during investigations.

Justice Aburili noted that COO’s care for his child and his attempts to save his marriage painted a picture of a responsible and caring man.

 However, finding EMO in a compromising situation with his wife in his own home pushed him over the edge. The judge stated, "I am satisfied that the accused person unlawfully killed the deceased in the heat of passion."

The defence counsel cited Proverbs 6:32-35, emphasizing the intensity of a husband's jealousy and the social and psychological turmoil caused by adultery.

 This biblical reference sought to explain COO's actions as a reaction to deep emotional distress rather than premeditated murder.

Interestingly, EMO's wife did not testify in his defence, with the investigating officer revealing she had previously warned him against the affair. 

All eight prosecution witnesses confirmed that COO attacked EMO after finding him with his wife.

The court ruled that COO's actions, though unlawful, were committed in a moment of temporary insanity. "Section 12 of the Penal Code recognises that insanity will only be a defence if it is proved that at the time of the commission of the offence charged, the accused person, by reason of unsoundness of mind, was either incapable of knowing that it was wrong or contrary to law," said Justice Aburili.

 She acknowledged that COO unlawfully killed EMO but deemed it an act of passion rather than premeditated murder.

After serving the 18-month sentence, including the time spent in custody since his surrender, COO was released. The case serves as a poignant reminder of the thin line between justice and the powerful sway of human emotions.

A Court hammer used to command order during proceedings.
A Court hammer used to command order during proceedings.
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