A Kenyan immigrant, Billy Chemirmir, facing murder charges in the United States of America has narrowly escaped the death penalty. Dallas County District Attorney, John Creuzot, stated that imposing the death penalty would mean that the prosecution and the defence would have to travel to Kenya to inquire about the accused's past conduct. They would have to find potential witnesses and records about Chemirmir's past and this could take a long time. The DA also expressed concerns about the prevalence of Covid 19 in Kenya and indicated that accessibility would be uncertain. The Kenyan immigrant is facing 13 counts of capital murder in Dallas County. He is also facing 5 counts of capital murder in Collins County as well as 2 counts of attempted murder.
According to the Kenyan criminal system, a suspect is supposed to be subjected to a psychiatric test to establish if he has the capacity to take a plea in court. In the event that the suspect is declared insane, he or she is not fit to take a plea and cannot stand trial. The person will however be committed to a mental facility. The Criminal Procedure Code however states this procedure is not mandatory except in all High Courts handling murder cases.This takes us back to the case of Lawrence Warunge who had initially been declared mentally unfit in January after the prosecution stated that he was undergoing medication for a mental illness. The court reversed its decision in April when a psychiatric report from Mathare hospital showed that the 22 year old was fit to stand trial. Lawrence had been charged with killing 4 of his family members and a farm attendant.
On June 28, the High Court in Kiambu ordered the main suspect in Jennifer Wambua's case to undergo a mental test to see whether he was fit for trial. Another instance was in October 2019 when MP Aisha Jumwa was subjected to mental assessment in relation to murder charges she was facing.
The District Attorney in Chemirmir’s case hopes to secure a life imprisonment without parole so that the accused can serve his term on American soil. If by any chance the accused is released, he will be deported to Kenya.
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