Analysis of the forensic evidence in the Kiruhura tragic murders

Saturday March 14 2020


By Dr Sylvester Onzivua

During the night of Friday August 16, 2013, a very prominent farmer, DK and five of his employees, were hacked to death at Kacumbiro Village in Kiruhura District. Several people, including his first wife and her three children, were arrested and tried for murder. In addition, there were other charges of aggravated robbery and one count of rape.
DK was separated from his first wife, JKK and was living with KJ, a 36-year-old woman at the time of his death. The first wife lived a stone throw from the homestead of the second wife. In between the two homesteads were a hedge and a cattle kraal.

The house DK lived in with his new wife was in the form of a boy’s quarters; it had a kitchen, a store, a sitting room and a bedroom. There were two other rooms, one of which served as a visitor’s room and another room, where one of the workers slept.
A door connected the bedroom and the sitting room. In the sitting room, two children slept. On the fateful day, someone drove DK’s car, a Toyota Spacio, but the car was returned that evening.
According to evidence in court, on the night of the murders, DK heard one of the herdsmen screaming outside and calling him to wake up fast. Apparently, DK then woke his younger wife and told her to dress up as he did not want them to be killed when they were naked.

As soon as the younger wife dressed, they then made alarms but the assailant banged the door and entered into the bedroom of the couple. It was then that DK attempted to push the door to stop it from opening, in an attempt to prevent the assailant from entering. The assailant, however, managed to enter the bedroom. It was then that DK got a stick to try to hit the assailant.
The assailant entered the bedroom, hit DK with a hammer and DK fell down. The assailant cut him with a machete, killing him instantly. After the assailant killed DK, he then asked for a phone from KJ, who was standing on the bed. She was ordered to tell court that the body of her husband was on the mattress, bleeding profusely although she did not see exactly where the blood was coming from but heard blood flushing out.

According to KJ, the assailant then ordered her to keep quiet lest she would meet her creator that moment. The assailant then asked for the phones which were on the bed and the window, which she gave to the assailant.
After getting the phones, he went outside but returned with a torch and asked for the log book of the car, as well as the bank book. The widow did not give them to him as she did not have them. The assailant then pulled a suitcase that was under the bed and from it, picked an army uniform and then went out.
A 24-year-old househelp staying in the homestead heard the commotion as the killings were going on. The househelp, together with a child aged between three and four years, used to sleep in what was apparently a store. She had worked in the couple’s home for about six weeks.

That night, she was woken up by the screams of one of the victims and heard the bulb of the security light that was outside being smashed. She heard the alarm from the couple, as well as the banging of the door and the voice of the assailant, threatening to kill the couple. The assailant threatened to finish off everybody else when the househelp attempted to make an alarm.

The househelp told court she heard KJ saying to the assailant “you have killed my husband” and also heard what sounded like a goat being slaughtered. She further told court that she heard one of the victims say: “Please come and help me, we are dying”. She heard DK’s door open and the assailant come out of the house, bolt the door from outside and walk to the room, in which one of the workers slept.
The assailant then threw out the worker and fought with him, stubbing him in the process. The househelp then heard someone start the car, stop by the water drum, wash his hands and drove away. One of the assailants remained behind and kept moving along the veranda.