BOSTON — The Supreme Judicial Court on Wednesday upheld the first-degree murder conviction of a Lynn man charged with fatally beating and stabbing the mother of their children in front of her family in 2007.
During the trial, prosecutors said Patrick Waweru, 39, struck the mother of his two children with a two-by-four piece of lumber and fatally stabbed her 24 times. A jury found him guilty of first degree murder on the theories of deliberate premeditation and extreme atrocity or cruelty, armed home invasion, armed assault with intent to murder, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, and reckless endangerment of a child in 2010.
The court ruled there was no basis to set aside or reduce the verdict or to order a new trial, according to a statement from the Essex County District Attorney’s office.
At the time of his arrest, police said Waweru convinced Esther Kinyanjui and their two children, aged 1 and 4, to travel back to Lynn from Delaware, where she had recently moved. Waweru then reportedly held her hostage before she was almost able to escape from him.
Kinyanjui, a 31-year-old nurse, was able to convince him to drive her to her sister’s house on Adams Street in Lynn. After she went inside, Waweru waited in his car until he forced his way through the door to the basement room where Kinyanjui, her sister Margaret Kinyanjui, and her mother Ruth Kinyanjui were talking, according to police.
Waweru hit Margaret Kinyanjui in the head with the two-by-four before he began stabbing the mother of his children. Ruth Kinyanjui, who was trying to stop him from stabbing her daughter to death, suffered a number of hand wounds. The two children were also present in the room during the time of the incident.
At trial, Waweru did not contest to the murder of his ex-girlfriend but argued that he “lacked criminal responsibility at the time of the murder because he suffered from mental illness,” according to the DA’s office. On appeal, he argued the judge made several errors during the trial, including a refusal to suppress statements made to a psychiatrist who interviewed him the day after the murder, while police were present. He also claimed the judge erred in his jury instructions and when Waweru attempted to waive his right to a trial by jury.
“Nothing will ever return Ms. Kinyanjui to her family, but we hope that this decision will bring them some measure of comfort and relief,” said Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett.