KOLLAM: A court in Kollam sentenced seven men for the murder of Renjith Johnson, a pet shop owner at Ayyarumukku in Peroor, on Monday.
The convicted are Manoj (48) alias Pambu Manoj of Eravipuram, Renjith (32) alias Kattunni of Nedungolam, Baiju (45) alias Kaithapuzha Unni of Poothakulam, Pranav (26) alias Kukku of Decent Junction, Vishnu (21) of Decent Junction, Vinesh (44) of Kilikoloor, Riyaz (34) of Vadakkevila. Additional District Court 4 of Kollam found the accused guilty of the crime. The court acquitted Ajimsha (37) of Kilikolloor, the accused number 8 in the case.
According to Kilikolloor police, Manoj and Renjith were friends. They turned foes after Manoj’s wife left him to live with 40-year-old Renjith who ran a pet shop.
Four of the accused came to Renjith’s pet shop masquerading as buyers and abducted Renjith from his house on August 15. They then took him in a car to a deserted area near Polachira Ela in Chathannoor and murdered him at an abandoned shed. The corpse was later taken to Thirunelveli and dumped in a quarry pit. Meanwhile, Renjith’s mother Theresa filed a man missing case on August 20. Based on a confidential information, the police traced the body in the quarry site at Ponnankudi along the Nagarcoil - Tirunelveli road, in a decomposed condition in the first week of September. Relatives who accompanied the police identified body by the clothes worn by Renjith when he was last seen and a tattoo on his right hand.
The court cross-examined 63 persons in the case. There were 225 evidences and 26 exhibits against the convicts. 10 forensic officers were cross-examined. The defendants produced 6 witnesses and 9 evidences. Public prosecutor K B Mahendran appeared for the prosecution. The court started the trial on February 13. Kilikolloor Crime SI, V Anil Kumar submitted the charge sheet on December 1, which was the 82nd day of taking the accused into custody. As the submission was within 90 days of arrest, the accused did not get bail. Later the court granted bail to accused number 8.