The National Court today sentenced Keith Lasi-Aira of Ihu village to death by hanging after he viciously attacked and chopped three men and a woman to death with a bush knife in the early hours of June 24, 2013.
Deputy Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika when handing down the sentence described the incident as one of the worst homicide and brutal murder he has seen in the country.
The cold blooded murder of the four was a merciless act that saw Aira kill the owner of Poomo Enterprise in Koki, along with the wife and two other men.
The cold blooded murder was so brutal; the head of the owner of the shop and bakery was chopped off with only the skin from his chin holding his head to the body.
The fifth Chinese national managed to escape death when he ran back into the house at the top of the Poomo bakery and locked the door.
All these took place at the bakery in the early hours of a Saturday morning when staff from the bakery were in the process of mixing flour in a machine to bake.
Airia’s co-accused and cousin Erick Lato however escaped the death sentence and was given 30 years in prison with hard labour.
Sir Gibbs said despite Aira’s guilty plea to all four counts of willful murder and expression of remorse, the mitigating factors surrounding the brutal killing was more.
He said the fact that Aira killed someone in authority (his boss) and more than two people in a series of acts is punishable by death.
Sir Gibbs said the ultimate maximum penalty for Aira for the willful murder of the four is for his life to pay for the cold blooded act.
He told Lato the fact that he was there during the time of the murder and encouraged Aira has landed him 30 years with hard labour.
“By your presence you encouraged Aira to do what he did,” Sir Gibbs said.
Lato has been in custody for the past three years and time served will be deducted from the sentence. He will now serve 27 years.
The court heard that during the record of interview with Police in July 2013 they said they were upset over their pay because the owner of the shop would force them to get goods on credits from his shop and deduct their pay more.