Prominent Nyeri businessman accused of hiring hit men to kill his biological son late last year over an alleged family feud is dead.

74-year-old Stephen Kinini Wang’ondu who was facing murder charges over the death of his son Daniel Mwangi alongside four others died at the Outspan Hospital in Nyeri Town.

Wang’ondu was initially admitted at Mt. Kenya Hospital over suspected Covid-19 complications before he was transferred to the Outspan Hospital a week ago after his health deteriorated according to his lawyer Mahugu Mbarire.

The businessman who has been in remand since his apprehension early January was accused of orchestrating the murder of his 32-year-old son on the night of December 31, 2020 in Mwiyogo village, Kieni East Sub-county, Nyeri.

He was charged with murder at the High court in Nyeri alongside four others namely James Mahinda, Eddy Kariuki, Raphael Wachira and Geoffrey Warutumo whom he is said to have hired at Sh. 160, 000 to kill his son.

Wang’ondu and his accomplices denied committing the heinous act and were last week released on bond after spending four months in remand.

The businessman was last seen in court on March 2nd this year when the five were formally charged with murder.

On March 9, the accused did not turn up in court for his bond application hearing with the prosecution saying that he had been placed under 14 days mandatory quarantine at King’ong’o GK prison after contracting Covid-19.

The prosecution had previously opposed his release on bond citing gravity of the matter, possible witness interference and abscondment. The objection was however overturned by trial Judge Florence Muchemi who argued that the prosecution had not advanced compelling reasons as to why the five should not be released on bond.

The prosecution also told the court that they had gathered incriminating evidence against the businessman who they maintained could have planned and executed the murder of his son for his selfish interests including a Sh. 2.5 million insurance claim.

An affidavit filed by Investigating Officer Joyce Maluki pointed out insurance fraud as a possible area of the ongoing investigations. In her affidavit, the officer said that the accused on January 25 filed a report on a personal accident with ICEA Lion General Insurance Company in relation to the deceased.

His family including his wife, three daughters and the deceased estranged wife Scholastica Wachuka had been enjoined in the case as interested parties.

The family however said their interest was only in knowing the truth behind the murder with regard to who did it and the motive behind.

They said they harbored no bitterness against the suspects and would in no way interfere with the course of justice or seek revenge in any form.

They had also welcomed his release on bond and were ready to take care of him given his failing health status.

The matter is set to come up for mention on May 10.

By Samuel Waititu/KNA