Nyarugenge Intermediate Court yesterday sentenced Sylvestre Hora to life in prison for the murder of 12-year-old Shalom ‘Bella’ Uwase.
The convict appeared before court clad in a white jacket and blue tracksuit trousers. He was loudly booed as he entered the court that was sitting at the Kigali Regional Stadium in Nyamirambo.
The presiding judge said although Hora pleaded guilty and asked for forgiveness, the manner in which he committed the crime was very brutal, pre-medidated and therefore deserved no lenience from the court.
“As the law stipulates, an individual who is sentenced to life loses his civil rights. The Court has sentenced Hora to life and stripped him of all his civil rights,” said the judge.
The court also directed that the weapon used to slit Bella’s head, a knife be kept by the State.
Hora had earlier pleaded guilty to murder and two other crimes, of illegally changing his name and forgery of national documents.
As was narrated at his trial, on the fateful day of March 23, 2014, when Hora’s employers terminated his service as a house help to the family, he decided to retaliate by killing his employer’s child.
At around 4pm on the day of his sacking, he bought a knife and hid it, then headed back to the family home where he particularly targeted to kill Bella, court heard.
According to the prosecution, when Bella returned home from school, she was sent to a kiosk where, along the way she met Hora and asked him to accompany her. When the two returned Bella asked him about the circumstances that led to the termination of his services. Hora reacted by stubbing her in the chest, before slitting her throat.
It was not immediately clear whether Hora will appeal or not.
In the course of investigation, it was discovered that Hora had for long used false identity, amounting to another offence. Hora’s legal name, according to prosecution, is Sylvan Hagumamahoro.
The court also found Hora guilty of forgery and possession of a national ID with a fake name for which he was handed seven years to be served concurrently with the heavier sentence.
Bella’s father, Deo Mujiji, said the ruling turned out exactly as he expected although he believed Hora deserved “more than just a life sentence.”
“A situation like this makes us wonder if indeed we needed to scrap the death sentence. Although, as a Christian if Hora asked me for forgiveness, I would forgive him but still, the law has to take its course,” Mujiji said.