Kenyan Charged in the U.S for Sh600K Murder-for-hire Plot Targeting Estranged Wife

December 7, 2023

Connecticut state police arrested a Kenyan man who is accused of trying to enlist a hitman to murder a female family member set to testify against him, court statements indicated on Tuesday, December 5.

Leonard Thuo Mwithiga, 52, was arrested by state police on Monday, just two days after a confidential informant approached them, detailing that Mwithiga sought assistance in locating a hitman to carry out the killing of his wife, as indicated in court documents.

The informant informed the police that between September 9 and December 1, Mwithiga frequently traveled between the United States and Kenya, consistently inquiring about the logistics of hiring a hitman.

According to court documents, various conversations revealed Mwithiga soliciting assistance in locating someone who could “hit” the family member, with explicit requests to “put that woman down” and “finish her.”

The court documents outlined specific instances, noting that on October 26, Mwithiga reached out to the individual, inquiring about someone who could “hit” the family member and “put that woman down.”

Subsequently, on November 3, Mwithiga again asked the informant for assistance in finding someone to “hit” the woman, specifying his wish for someone to “finish her.”

Plot to Make It Look Like a Fentanyl Overdose

Furthermore, on December 1, he urged the informant to hire a hitman, stating that it was acceptable if the chosen method resulted in her becoming seriously ill, such as being injected with something resembling a debilitating condition like cancer, as indicated in the court documents.

After a thorough investigation, an undercover state trooper assumed the role of a “hitman” and arranged a meeting with Mwithiga. The “hit man” was tasked with taking the victim on a date, during which he was supposed to drug her with fentanyl to make it look like an overdose.

According to court records, Mwithiga specified that he wanted the planned death to occur between January 28, 2024, and February 3, 2024, a timeframe during which he would be in Kenya, aiming to avoid suspicion.

Mwithiga was arrested and faces charges of criminal attempt/intimidation of a witness, conspiracy to commit murder, and criminal attempt with special circumstances for murder.

During his court appearance on Tuesday, it was disclosed that the accused was undergoing divorce proceedings and had purportedly traveled from Kenya to Connecticut intending to obtain custody of his two children.

“It was determined that there is a current court proceeding involving the accused and the victim in which the execution of this murder-for-hire plot would render the victim unable to testify,” said state police.

‘Poses Serious Threat to Wife and Children’

Mwithiga reportedly resigned from his job in June and had plans to return to Kenya on Thursday, as revealed in court statements.

“This man had a plan to kill his wife,” a state prosecutor said in court, adding; “I think he poses a serious threat not only to his wife but also his children.”

Mwithiga’s wife and children reportedly left Kenya due to allegations of abuse. In court documents, Mwithiga is quoted as expressing a desire to “fight evil with evil” and had allegedly planned to pay $4,000(approx. Sh610,000) to someone in exchange for killing her.

The suspect’s public defender claimed that Mwithiga, a former bank manager with a degree from a University in Kenya, maintains his innocence. The defense requested a bond of $250,000(approx. Sh38million).

But prosecutors argued that Mwithiga has limited community ties and poses a flight risk. They successfully requested a bond to be set at $5 million(approx. Sh761, 900, 000).

The judge additionally ordered Mwithiga to surrender all firearms and mandated that he maintain a distance from any victims and/or witnesses in the case.

The judge, considering the involvement of minor children, ruled that Mwithiga must stay 2,500 feet away from protected persons at all times.

If he posts the $5 million bond, Mwithiga is required to surrender his passport and is prohibited from leaving Connecticut. Furthermore, he would be subject to GPS monitoring and placed on around-the-clock lockdown.

The next court date for Mwithiga is scheduled for January 26.

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