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How Court of Appeal Judge Odek Died




Prof Justice James Otieno Odek

” When the driver came to pick him he found the door locked. He went to report at Kisumu Central Police Station. The police had to break the door,”

Chief Magistrate Julius Ng’ang’a

Court of Appeal Judge James Otieno Odek was on
Monday morning found dead in his Kisumu apartment.

The 53-year-old jurist was found face-up naked in
his bed, with a blanket drawn up below his chest. Three sex-enhancing tablets,
in a packet of six, had been taken but it was not known by whom or when, a
police report said.

Odek was lying with one hand behind his head.
Blood was oozing from his private parts and from his left ear and a hand was
bruised, a police source who broke into the house said. It had been locked from

The judge stayed alone at serviced Groovehut
Apartments, a stone’s throw from the Kisumu Central police station.

Prof. Odek had arrived in Kisumu on Thursday as
part of the Court of Appeal judges who scheduled to hear cases in Western
Kenya. The cases, some of which were the Kibos Sugar factory pollution case and
the Ksh 2.3 billion milimani land fraud case.

His driver dropped him at the apartment and left.
The house was locked from inside with the keys and the judge’s three phones
inside. No one picked calls.

When the driver came to pick him he found the door locked. He went to report at
Kisumu Central Police Station. The police had to break the door,” Kisumu
Chief Magistrate Julius Ng’ang’a said.


Nyanza regional police commander Vincent Makokha
confirmed Odek was found dead in the morning after the police broke in
following calls and a fruitless search.

Makokha said investigators and a pathologist
visited the scene before the body was taken to Kisumu’s Aga Khan Hospital
Mortuary for a postmortem.


Often in murder cases, bruises on the body indicate
some kind of a struggle. Justice Odek had bruises on his right arm, but police
were quick to dismiss it stating ‘there were no signs of struggle in the

The police say on Friday, the judge drove himself
to an unknown destination and drove back late Friday.

Investigators at the scene called a doctor from Kisumu county Hospital,
Thaddeus Massawa, to examine the body.

Preliminary investigation also established that the deceased had bled from
his private parts and left ear.

It was not clear whether
his death was linked to the sex-enhancing drugs, some other condition or foul

The body was to be
airlifted to Lee Funeral Home in Nairobi.

Chief Justice David Maraga said he was “deeply saddened by the sudden
demise of Odek”.

“He was not only a distinguished judge but also a prolific legal
scholar who was widely published and celebrated across the continent and
beyond,” Maraga said in his condolence message.

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