Kenyan official concludes priest’s death was murder

.- A Kenyan official has concluded that a U.S. priest, who died seven years ago, was murdered.

Senior Principal Magistrate Maureen Odero’s conclusion challenges the FBI’s finding that the priest’s death was a suicide. The FBI investigated Fr. John Kaiser’s death in 2000 and concluded that he shot himself. However, Odero presided over a new inquiry into the 67-year-old priest’s death this month. She described the FBI's investigation as "seriously flawed, superficial and lopsided."

The Kenyan government had ordered the new inquiry in April 2003, after steady pressure from the country's Catholic bishops.

A lawyer representing Catholic officials in Kenya also claims the FBI withheld crucial evidence regarding Fr. Kaiser’s death.

According to the Associated Press, Mbuthi Githinji said on Friday that the FBI withheld crucial evidence to the investigation, namely a shotgun that belonged to Fr. Kaiser and the original ballistics report. Githinji spoke during a forum commemorating the seventh anniversary of Fr. Kaiser's death.

However, the FBI stands behind its conclusions, FBI spokesman Stephen Kodak told the AP. Kodak was unable to comment on whether the FBI still had Fr. Kaiser's shotgun, which was found by his side, or documents relating to the case.

Githinji also accuses the FBI of not cooperating during the public inquiry at the magistrate's court. He said three FBI detectives involved in the investigation did not appear to testify even though the court rescheduled the date for them three times.

Kodak told the AP the three detectives were ready to testify but were never called.


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