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Why Siaya Court Sentenced A Woman Who Killed Her Drunk, Abusive Husband To Only 1 Day In Jail



A Court in Siaya has slapped on the wrist Truphena Ndonga Aswani with a one day non-custodial imprisonment for killing her husband a crime that she admitted to have committed that on the 14th day of December, 2020 in Ugenya Sub County within Siaya County, she murdered James Oyengo Obochi, she however told the court that it was in self defense.

The court heard that on the night of the crime, the deceased came back home drunk from his usual sprees and ordered to be served food to which the wife obliged. After getting fed and while intoxicated, he picked a quarrel with the accused, demanding to be given possession of a title Deed to the land, which title Deed had been given to the wife by her father in-law, the deceased’s father, for reasons that the accused cared for him well and that because the deceased who was irresponsible could sell family land and render the family homeless.

Truphena was trusted by her father in-law to protect family land from the deceased predator, as the deceased had sold off his portion of land bequeathed to him by his late father.

In the process of demanding for the title deed from the accused, the deceased dashed into a corner of their bedroom, picked a panga and as he raised it to cut the accused, the accused held it and used it to cut the deceased severally, in self defence.

The deceased died upon which, out of fear, the accused pulled the deceased’s body and took it to a neighbour’s farm which was 200 metres away and covered it with grass then she returned to her house.

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The following day, which was 15/12/2020, one Ishmael Awuor Obwaka who was taking his cattle to graze in the field, stumbled upon the deceased’s body so he went to the accused’s house to report to her of what he had found, as she was also the area village elder.

She was then taken into custody and upon interrogation at Ugenya DCI by Assistant Superintendent of Police James Ngao, she confessed to having unlawfully killed deceased.

In court, her lawyer said that she remorseful and prayed for a non-custodial sentence as she has a family that depends on her. Further, that she acted in self defence and willingly surrendered to the police. That she initially hid the body out of fear and that she was a victim of perpetual domestic violence being meted on her by her deceased husband evidenced by scars on her head – backside. He submitted that the accused person’s father in-law transferred title of land in her name because she is trusted as the deceased could sell family land and waste the proceeds.

The court gave the accused an opportunity to mitigate in her own words. The accused person spoke endlessly of how she had been subjected to torture and inhuman treatment by the deceased for a long time since her marriage to the deceased and that earlier on in the month of November on 6th November 2020, the deceased had assaulted her until she almost passed on and even when she was assisted by a neighbour to Luanda Kongango Hospital, he did not bother yet she was seriously injured, and she was admitted in hospital. That he never visited her nor pay her hospital bills. She stated that the deceased continued issuing threats to kill her and her son unless she gave him the title deed to the land which was in her name. A Good Samaritan paid her hospital bill.

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The court heard that the deceased used to assault the accused in the presence of their children and villagers whom she led and embarrass her. That although she discovered that the deceased was HIV positive while she was negative, she hung on him and that at times he used to hide his ARVs then threaten to kill her and her child. That the deceased always beat her up whenever he returned home and found her to have made a meal comprising green vegetables.

While issuing the judgment on 9, March , Judge R.E Aburili said, “As the world marks the International Women’s Day, the question that this court poses is- what can a person of the accused person herein Truphena Ndonga Aswani be celebrated for and what will she be remembered for? There are only two things to remember her for, from the facts of this case. One, is that she was a butchered, battered, dehumanized and violated woman who had no voice. She persevered through the domestic violence meted on her by her late husband who is described as irresponsible and violent. Secondly, she will be remembered as a person who killed her husband in the process of defending her own life. She was however not willing to leave her matrimonial home because she loved her husband. She was ready to die under his cruel hand because she had borne him an only child and son and she thought that he would change for the better. This was even after his two other wives parted ways with him because of the violence meted out on them.“

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At the end the final judgment was issued. “Accordingly, considering her mitigations and circumstances under which the offence was committed, and appreciating that every life is precious, I sentence the accused person Truphena Ndonga Aswani to serve non-custodial sentence of One day imprisonment, to last at the end of this court session.”

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