Makadara court grants conditional release to Air BnB owner over Rita Waeni murder

The Makadara Court has conditionally released the owner of the short–stay – rental apartment along TRM Drive in Kasarani, Nairobi, where university student Rita Waeni was killed and dismembered.

Priscila Maina was released by Senior Principal Magistrate Justus Kituku but was directed to appear before the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI’s) Homicides Unit offices at the DCI headquarters twice a week for one month.

She will be presenting herself before investigators every Tuesday and Friday.

Ms Maina was released after Corporal Philip Kilonzo of the Homicides Unit filed an affidavit before Kituku seeking custodial orders for three men who were earlier detained at Kasarani police station alongside Ms Maina and sought to have her released.

Ms Maina was in custody for failure to register her tenant’s crucial details as required by the law, which would have helped the DCI officers to trace the murderer.

Lawyer Eunice Katila welcomed Ms Maina’s release and added that they are ready to accompany her to meet investigators during the period granted by the court.

She maintains her client’s mistake was the failure to record the details of the tenant who occupied the house where Ms Waeni is suspected of having been killed.

Ms Waeni’s killers dismembered her body, put some parts in a refuse bag wrapped others in a cloth, and dumped them at the garbage point on the ground floor of the building.

The three men – Kelvin Mutiso, Eugene Omondi, and Brian Kinoti who were arrested near the house will remain in custody at Muthaiga police station for seven days as detectives carry out investigations.

They were arrested because they were found in a house on the first floor of GreenHouse apartments – next to the one where Waeni was killed and they were not tenants at the apartment.

Only Kinoti has a house on the third floor of the building.

“It has been established that both second and third respondents (Mutiso and Omondi) are not residents of the apartment where the offence was committed and the team is yet to establish the residence and the reason for their visit at the said place at the time of the incident in question,” stated Kilonzo.

“The investigating team has also confirmed that the third respondent (Omondi) is a student of the JKUAT where Rita Waeni was a student too and therefore the investigators are yet to establish the coincidence.”

Their lawyer Steve Nyamu had opposed their continued detention claiming that the DCI was clear that the main suspect in the murder was still at large and there was no reason to further detain his clients since they were not suspected to be the killers.

But Kituku said the courts are now cognizant after the (Paul) Mackenzie case where magistrates initially dismissed police’s applications to detain him for further investigations and released him until the magnitude of what had happened came out.

The magistrate added that he is considering the family of the deceased that has lost a relative and the interests of the Kenyans who want to know what happened in the murder “because it was not done in the way the other murders are done”.

Mueni’s killers cut her body into pieces stashed some in a refuse bag wrapped others with a cloth and dumped them at the garbage collection point on the ground floor of the house.

They disappeared with her head which was missing for a week until it was retreated in a dam in Kiambu County wrapped with a blouse which DCI says is suspected to belong to Waeni.

Mr. Kituku had earlier said that detention of the suspects in the case is important for them so that they get the opportunity to get cleared of being involved in the murder.

“It is in the best interest of the respondents (the suspects) that they are thoroughly investigated and exonerated if they are innocent than hurried investigations where they are charged only to be acquitted after a long trial.”

The court heard that the homicide unit took over the case on January 22 and Cpl. Kilonzo stated that they are yet to interrogate the three men.

Cpl. Kilonzo said an autopsy of a head suspected to be that of Waeni was conducted on January 25 by Chief Government pathologist Johansen Onduor and the specimen was taken and forwarded to the Government analyst for comparison to ascertain the head was that of the Waeni.

He said the analysis report of the exhibits collected for comparison, those taken from Mutiso and others collected from a motor vehicle found at the scene, is not yet ready.

The DCI says Mutiso was found in house number B2 next to the one where Waeni was killed and told the police that he had visited the house and spent the night there.

According to the DCI, Mutiso was found with a blood-like substance on his socks and underneath his nails.

Omondi who is a student at the JKUAT told investigators that he had visited his uncle who lives in the house where they were found, just before returning to school. His uncle lived next to the house where the deceased was killed.

The DCI says Mutiso was found in house number B2 next to the one where the woman was killed and told the police that he had visited the house and spent the night there.

According to the DCI, upon searching him, he was found with a blood-like substance on and underneath his nails.

The other two men told the police that they were with Mutiso watching an Africa Continental tournament match and had dinner together before parting ways.

Kinoti who lives on the third floor of the apartment had joined Mutiso and Omondi in the house where they watched a football match before he returned to his house.

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