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Jacktone Odhiambo detained after pleading not guilty in Edwin Chiloba murder case

The suspect in the killing of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) activist Edwin Kipruto alias Chiloba, Jacktone Odhiambo on Wednesday denied murdering him.

Odhiambo appeared before High Court Judge Richard Nyakundi and denied that he murdered Chiloba between December 31, 2022 and January 3, 2023.

According to the charge sheet, Odhiambo allegedly committed the offence at Noble Breeze apartment Chebisas area in Moiben subcounty, Uasin Gishu County.

The accused denied the charges telling the court that “I did not murder,” when asked by the judge to answer to the charges. He also admitted that he was aware of the charges facing him.

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“I am here because I’m a suspect in the murder of Edwin Chiloba,” Odhiambo said.

His lawyer Mathai Maina informed the court that he would apply for bond for the accused, however Chiloba family lawyer, Mitullah Gilbert said they would also file documents opposing bail for the suspect. The matter will be mentioned on February 16, 2023.

Last month, the court freed four suspects linked to the murder of Chiloba after the prosecution said it had no evidence to charge them, following 21 days of investigations that had been granted by the court.

Among them was body builder Dennis Litali who was completely freed while three other suspects were told to report to police every month for three months.

The late Chiloba was a fourth-year student at the University of Eldoret, pursuing a degree course in Apparel Fashion and design.

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His decomposing body was found in a metal box along the Kipkenyo-Kaptinga road in Kapseret sub-County in Uasin Gishu County on January 3.

An autopsy by government pathologist Johansen Oduor revealed that he died of asphyxiation (lack of oxygen).

Chiloba’s murder attracted global interest due to the country’s stance on gay rights.

Peter Kimulwo, Uasin Gichu county head of investigations, told the Associated Press that police have ruled out the murder as a hate crime.

Kimulwo said investigators now believe the murder was linked to a love triangle. Odhiambo who was arrested earlier this month is believed to have been Chiloba’s lover.

Activists have said the murder was a hate crime, adding that fashion designer Chiloba had been targeted for his activism in support of gay rights.

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