By Noah Cheploen
The High Court in Nakuru has set free a middle-aged man who was accused of killing his wife three years ago.
Lady Justice Janet Mulwa on Thursday, October 3, acquitted the suspect, Zacharia Rono, of murder charge, saying the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.
It was alleged that Rono murdered his spouse, Esther Langat, on March 31, 2016 after he returned to his Karandit Village home in Kuresoi, Nakuru County while drunk accompanied by his mpango wa kando identified as Rosaline Tonui.
The court heard that Rono had spent the day (March 31, 2016) drinking alcohol with his lover, Rosaline, at Rono’s friend’s house, and when it clocked a few minutes to 9pm, the couple left for Rono’s residence.
When the lovebirds arrived at Rono’s home, a noisy quarrel ensued between them outside the house, attracting the attention of Rono’s wife, Esther, who was indoors at the time.
A few hours later, Esther was found lying lifeless at the scene with blood oozing from her mouth. Next to her body, was a metal rod believed to have been used in killing the victim.
Police, thereafter, arrested Rono and his girlfriend, Rosaline, on suspicion of killing Esther.
At court, the prosecution presented four witnesses, including Rono and Esther’s two sons, who told the court that “at one point they saw their parents and Rosaline embroiled in a disagreement”.
The couple’s sons said Esther and Rono, thereafter, decided to get into the house, but the noisy quarrel between them continued.
“Dad, thereafter, asked mum to leave the house. She protested, but he managed to eject her,” the couple’s children told the court.
“For a while, mum screamed outside the house, then all of a sudden, her screams faded,” the witnesses said.
The sons said when they stepped outside to look for their mother, they found her body on the ground and a metal rod placed next to her.
“Blood was oozing from her mouth and nose,” they said.
After being arraigned, Rono’s lover, Rosaline, was acquitted for lack of evidence implicating her.
Rono told the court that after a disagreement arose among them, Rosaline left the scene and spent the night at his neighbour’s house.
The suspect denied being involved in Esther’s death, saying there had never been a metal rod in his house, and, therefore, there was no way he could use the weapon in killing his wife.
“My house only has bamboo sticks, which I use in constructions,” Rono told the court.
In her 10-page ruling, Lady Justice Janet Mulwa said the prosecution had failed to satisfy the burden of proof to the requisite standard against the suspect.
Mulwa said the prosecution did not produce in court the said-murder weapon.
According to the judge, none of the four prosecution witnesses saw Rono killing Esther.
“Evidence by the prosecution was not direct as none of the witnesses saw the accused hit or kill the deceased. It is therefore circumstantial,” she said.
“Suspicion alone cannot be the basis to infer guilt on an accused person however strong the suspicion may be. Circumstantial evidence must be cogent, plain and clear. No doubt should be created as to the identity of the accused person or his intentions — malice aforethought,” said the judge.
After being set free, Rono pleaded with Lady Justice Janet Mulwa to give him bus-fare so that he could go home.