Man Behind Murder of Kenyan Catholic Priest Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison

Fr. Michael Kyengo's murderer sentenced 30 years in prison. Credit: Courtesy Photo

A Kenyan court has sentenced the man who confessed to have killed a Catholic Priest in the East African country to 30 years in prison.

Michael Muthinji Mutunga who pleaded guilty of the murder before Embu Resident judge Lucy Njuguna, said that he stabbed Fr. Michael Kyengo to death in October 2019, alleging that the Priest who served at Thatha Parish in Kenya’s Machakos Diocese had sexually molested him several times. 

Mr. Mutunga had denied the charge when he first appeared in court in 2019.

“I find the circumstances under which this offence was committed called for a severe sentence. I sentence the first accused person 30 years in prison,” Judge Njuguna said in her Thursday, November 11 verdict, and added that there was no justification for the suspect’s action.

Judge Njuguna said that Mr. Mutunga had the responsibility of using the available legal means to seek justice rather than taking the matter into his own hands.


In the process of delivering the verdict, judge Njuguna narrated that that the accused killed Fr. Michael and went ahead to withdraw KES.400,000 (US$4,000.00) that belonged to the late Priest.

The body of the 43-year-old Catholic Priest was discovered in a shallow grave at the banks of a river after he went missing on 8 October 2019.

In a 2019 interview with ACI Africa, Fr. Francis Maundu, the financial administrator of Machakos Diocese, said that Fr. Michael had left his parents’ home in Machakos where he was on leave and had told his family members he would be away. 

The deceased Priest is said to have informed members of his family that he would not be found on phone.

“I went this morning to the ground with Priests from Machakos Diocese and other Priests from Embu Diocese to meet the policemen who were already there on the ground with a suspect,” Fr. Maundu narrated in the 16 October 2019 interview with ACI Africa.

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“The CID (Directorate of Criminal Investigations) exhumed the body for us to identify,” Fr. Maundu said, and added, “What was surprising is that the body was in a sack. It was so disfigured… that we could not identify him.”

Fr. Maundu narrated that the deceased Priest’s family members had reported to a police station in Machakos County that their kin was missing.

He explained that the police traced Fr. Michael’s whereabouts through his mobile phone and found a man in possession of the phone, driving the Priest’s car.

The suspect fled and was arrested at his hideout in Kilifi, a town on the Coast of Kenya, before he was arraigned to face murder charges alongside his two other co-accused; Kavivya Mwangangi and Solomon Mutava. 

The accused had, through his lawyer, confessed that in 2017, the late Priest who was his mentor and was in charge of paying his school fees had started making sexual advances towards him and kept calling him “sweetheart” among other names before he molested him.


At his sentencing, Mr. Mutunga said he was remorseful, urging the court to pardon him. He argued that he is a young man who can reform and do something meaningful with his life in the society.

“The court should take into consideration why I killed the Priest and have mercy upon me. I pray that I be given a non-punitive sentence so that I can have a chance to serve the society,” Mr. Mutunga has been quoted as saying through his lawyer Kirimi Guantai during the October 22 court session.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.