Justus Ogendi Kebabe sentenced for killing wife and two kids

Justus Kebabe is sentenced.
Justus Kebabe is sentenced.

Three months after his wife and two of his kids were found dead in their Vadnais Heights apartment, Justus Ogendi Kebabe learned that he will spend the rest of his life behind bars for the murders.

He might have eluded authorities a little longer were it not for the fact that he ran out of gas on I-35 near Faribault the night of Oct. 14. When state troopers approached to check things out, he tried to run away, leaving a third child in the car.

The troopers arrested him for driving with a suspended license, and booked him into the Rice County Jail, but had no idea at first that he was trying to escape the grim murder scene. But soon, the 45-year-old's name was all over the news.

His children hadn't attended school and his wife hadn't shown up at work all week. A family member, who noticed Kebabe acting erratically, called Ramsey County for a welfare check.

Deputies showed up and found the three bodies in three separate rooms. Later, we learned that he'd beaten his wife, Bilha Omare, with a golf club and strangled her with an electrical cord. He'd fed sleeping medication to two of his little kids, 12-year-old Kinley Ogendi and nine-year-old Ivyn Ogendi. Kinley was drowned in a bathtub and Ivyn was suffocated with a pillow.

Police started to piece the story together and linked Kebabe to the murders. He pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree intentional murder only a few weeks later.

Today, District Judge Elena Ostby sentenced him to three consecutive 25-year terms.

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