NAIROBI, Kenya (CNS) — A Catholic priest was among five people found guilty and sentenced to death for the 2005 slaying of Italian Bishop Luigi Locati.

Judge Fred Ochieng described Father Guyo Waqo as the mastermind of the plot as the eight-year trial concluded Nov. 6.


The judge said he believed the priest recruited Mohammed Molu Bagajo, Adan Ibrahim Mohammed, Mahati Ali Halake and Diqa Wario Mohammed to carry out the shooting death of the 77-year-old bishop in July 2005 after a disagreement over cash donations to the Isiolo apostolic vicariate the bishop was overseeing.

A sixth co-defendant, Roba Balla Bariche, was acquitted by Ochieng, who said he “was not involved in the plot despite the fact that the gun used in the crime had been obtained from him.”

Ochieng immediately imposed the death sentence on the defendants. But it is unlikely the sentence will be carried out because Kenya has not carried out any executions since 1987, although capital punishment is not formally abolished.

The defendants’ attorney, Ojwang Agina, told the court that they planned to appeal the death sentence.

Ordained priest in 1952, Bishop Locati arrived in Kenya in 1963. He established the vicariate in Isiolo, 150 miles north of Nairobi, that year and was ordained a bishop in 1996.