Evans Juma Wanjala, the self-confessed child killer of Moi’s Bridge, Uasin Gishu County, is mentally fit to stand trial, an Eldoret court has been told.
A psychiatric assessment conducted at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital on July 21 and presented to Eldoret High Court Deputy Registrar Rosemary Onkoba showed that he is mentally stable to plead to murder charges.
Wanjala, who has confessed to brutally murdering five young girls after assaulting and defiling them, faces five counts of murder.
Those he is accused of killing are Linda Cherono, 13, Mary Elusa, 14, Mary Grace Njeri, 12, Stacy Nabiso, 10 and Lucy Wanjiru, 15.
Wanjala is accused of killing the five girls between December 2019 and June 2021. He would lure the victims to different locations of the town and defile them before strangling them.
“The modus operandi of the pedophile were replicated in all the murders where the victims were first defiled before being strangled to death, and left in the bushes to be devoured by wild beasts,” the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) said in a report.
“In two such instances, the lifeless bodies of the victims were stashed in gunny bags covered with vegetables and left to rot away in the bushes.”
Now, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) says it has compiled all the documents required to prosecute the suspect on three murder charges as opposed to the original five that he had confessed to have participated in.
Ms Onkoba on Monday said the DPP wants the court to charge Wanjala with the murders of three of the five children.
In the first case, prosecutors said Mr Wanjala murdered Stacy Achieng Nabiso on the night of December 31, 2019 in Soweto estate in Moi’s Bridge.
The second charge says he murdered Mary Elusa between December 15 and 16, 2020 in Tuiyabei village, while the third is on the murder of Linda Cherono Kinyua, thought to have happened between June 11 and 15 in the same area.
Appearing in court on Monday for the mention of the case, Mr Wanjala did not plead to the charges, because the duty judge was not present.
Deputy Registrar Onkoba directed the suspect to be taken to the Kapenguria High Court for plea-taking on August 25.
“Since this is a murder charge and at the moment there is no judge on duty in this station to preside over the matter, I do direct the accused to be taken to the Kapenguria High Court on August 25 for plea-taking,” she said.
The suspect was apprehended in July after he allegedly confessed to have killed five children from the area.
An early statement from the DCI said the suspect carried out the killings between December 31, 2019 and June 15, 2021.
Detectives are still investigating the murder of the other two, who are also linked to the suspect.
On Saturday, homicide experts exhumed the remains of Mary Njeri at Karara in Nyakinywa farm in Cherang’any constituency on the boundary of Uasin Gishu and Trans Nzioa so as to conduct a DNA test on the remains as part of the evidence to be used in court against the suspect.
The officer in charge of the homicide unit at DCI, Martin Nyuguto, who led the exhumation, said it was necessary to gather coherent evidence to be presented in court against the suspect behind the defilement and murder of Grace Njeri and four other victims.
“We are here to exhume the remains of Njeri as part of our evidence to be presented in court next week so as to have a watertight case against the self-confessed serial killer,” said Mr Nyuguto as he ordered journalists to stay away from the crime scene.