Suspected serial killer Denis Kazungu for the first time appeared in court since his arrest earlier this month, to answer murder charges related to 14 people, 13 females and one male, some bodies of whom were unearthed from his rented residence.
The 34-year old was arraigned in Kicukiro Primary Court on Thursday morning amid tight security, as family members of the deceased and members of the press thronged the courtroom. Curious onlookers who have been gripped by Kazungu’s story peeped through the wire mesh fence to catch a glimpse of the young man who has earned himself the moniker ‘the Rwandan serial killer.’
Kazungu, a resident of Gashikiri village, Busanza Cell, Kanombe sector, in Kicukiro district, was arrested on September 5 by Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) and he subsequently admitted to have killed 14 people, some of who he reportedly cooked at ate in an act of cannibalism.
Kazungu appeared for the bail hearing in the first instance court, where he was brought by RIB, without a lawyer to accompany him. He immediately asked the court to hold the hearing in camera, because of the nature of the charges he is facing, which would shock the public.
“I believe these are serious crimes that I have committed. I would prefer that the proceedings are not covered by the media, which would spread them and that may contribute to misleading the society,” he said.
Prosecutors however were quick to dismiss Kazungu’s claim, terming it baseless and the judge ordered that the bail hearing be held in public.
A seemingly calm Kazungu pleaded guilty to the 10 charges he faces, which include, voluntary murder and manslaughter, kidnapping, torture, rape, intimidation, fraud, burglary, unauthorized access to computer data and concealment of evidence/corpses, among others.
He told court that the reason he killed his victims, especially women, is because they deliberately infected him with HIV/AIDS. Prosecution requested the court to put him on remand for 30 days as investigations continue.
Asked what he thought of the Prosecution’s request, Kazungu said that the ball is the court’s court and that Judge’s had the prerogative to make a decision on whether they can grant him or not.
At least 12 of the bodies of Kazungu’s alleged victims were found in the kitchen of the house he used to rent. Prosecution said Kazungu picked his unsuspecting victims from different locations including Remera, Kimironko, Kabuga, Masaka and Rusororo before luring them to his abode in Busanza.
Prosecutors further said that before murdering his suspects, Kazungu first tied them both arms and legs, threatened them with different objects including hammers and knives before robbing them of their possessions including forcing them to transfer money from their mobile phones or bank accounts as well as forcing them to transfer property and other valuable assets, including land.
He also admitted to raping his victims, and pointed out that he doesn’t remember the names of some his victims, except for some he identified as Eliane Mbabazi, Clementine, Françoise and Eric Turatsinze, the sole male victim who identity card he was using.
On the crime of rape, Kazungu admitted to raping one person but she managed to flee before he could kill her. Before raping her, he robbed her of her belongings but she was lucky to escape and as Kazungu chased her, neighbours noticed and he quickly abandoned the mission.
Among other things, the court heard how Kazungu first tortured his victims, hitting them with brunt objects or shoving a pen up their noses to inflict pain so that they could cooperate. The claims were reiterated by two witnesses who managed to escape his grip.
Court will pronounce the bail verdict on September 26.