Paragraph 10 reads: "Ssekandi requested bail be set to allow his client to attend his father's funeral. He also asked the judge to consider his client's medical condition, saying Kazigo takes the antidepressant drug Effexor."

No bail set for suspect in killing


(Original publication: August 29, 2005)

MINEOLA ? A Somers man charged in the bludgeoning death of his father on Long Island pleaded not guilty yesterday to a second-degree murder charge despite police saying they had a videotaped admission.

Police said they also found weapons ? including a baseball bat and a large knife ? near the victim's body.

The crime stemmed from long-standing tensions between the victim and his son, who may have been taking medication normally prescribed to treat depression, authorities said.

Wearing running pants, a white T-shirt and an unbuttoned long-sleeve shirt, Mulumba Kazigo, 26, of 172 Route 202, Lincolndale, was escorted by plainclothes officers from Nassau County police headquarters in Mineola to the County Courthouse in Hempstead for arraignment. Kazigo remained stone-faced when reporters asked about the killing of his father, 67-year-old Dr. Joseph Zirabamuzaale Kazigo.

A day earlier, police said, Mulumba Kazigo led them to the site where his father's body was dumped ? in the woods near the Muscoot Reservoir in Lewisboro, a quarter-mile from Route 138 and just three miles from the family's home.

"This was a particularly brutal crime, and the brutality of it was exceeded only by the premeditation," Nassau County Assistant District Attorney Frank Schroeder said after the arraignment. "This defendant planned the execution of his father and carried it out very efficiently."

Mulumba Kazigo acquired the weapons used in the slaying days in advance, Schroeder said. Tape and bags used to dispose of the body were also found less than a mile away. Autopsy results have not been released, but police believe Kazigo died of blunt-force trauma to the head. His throat was cut, and he may have been sleeping at the time of the attack.

"We don't see any evidence that the doctor was able to defend himself at all," Schroeder said.

At least four family members attended yesterday's arraignment, including the defendant's sister, Nakizito Kazigo, and brother, Gabe Kazigo. Another brother and a brother-in-law were also there, according to Karoli Ssemogerere, one of two attorneys representing Mulumba Kazigo.

Bail was denied and a plea of not guilty followed an exchange between the judge and Kazigo's other defense attorney, Francis Ssekandi, who was corrected by the judge several times. Ssekandi requested bail be set to allow his client to attend his father's funeral. He also asked the judge to consider his client's medical condition, saying Kazigo takes the antidepressant drug Effexor.

Family members left the courthouse without commenting. Ssemogerere said the family is united in its support of the defendant. "The family are obviously saddened," he said.

He would not comment on his client's relationship with the victim or on whether his client was ever treated for depression. He said he met with his client for the first time early yesterday morning.

Prosecutors argued against granting Kazigo bail, citing not only the nature of the crime and a videotaped admission, but also the possibility Kazigo might flee the country. Kazigo lived in his parents' native Uganda from 1992 until 1998. He is scheduled to return to court Friday.

Colleagues say the elder Kazigo was a former representative to the king of Buganda, a region of Uganda, and was considered a prince because he was a distant relative of the royal family. All of Joseph and Christine Kazigo's seven children lived in Uganda for a time to learn about their heritage and culture. Kazigo also led the New York-New Jersey chapter of Ggwanga Mujje, a group that promotes economic and social development in Buganda.

Kazigo moved to the United States in 1961, shortly after Great Britain granted Uganda independence.

Following a memorial service in New York City that is still being planned, the victim's body will be flown to Uganda for burial.

A graduate student attending SUNY Albany, Mulumba Kazigo most recently worked at a summer day camp in Somers, his attorney said. His parents bought the family's yellow Cape Cod-style home on five acres in Lincolndale in 1982.

Detective Lt. Dennis Farrell, commanding officer of the Nassau County police homicide squad, credited crime scene investigators for providing a clear picture of what transpired inside Joseph Kazigo's apartment at 713 Pleasant Ave. in Westbury between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Wednesday.

A vast amount of blood throughout a bedroom and spattered on the walls made it clear that it was the scene of the crime, Farrell said. Witnesses told police they saw a black man leaving the victim's apartment in a car police later learned belonged to another family member. Mulumba Kazigo had been seen driving the car that day. At that point, police said, they decided there was enough evidence for an arrest.

Joseph Kazigo, an emergency room surgeon at Nassau University Medical Center, rented the apartment so he would have a place to stay during the week rather than make the 60-plus-mile commute each day. He was reported missing about 8:40 p.m. Thursday by co-workers after he didn't show up for his 7 p.m. shift.

At one point during the investigation, after Mulumba Kazigo had already been charged in his father's disappearance, family members asked to speak to him, Farrell said. Police allowed them to do so and a short time later he agreed to show police where he tried unsuccessfully to bury his father's body and other evidence, police said.

Farrell said investigators had determined there was a "long-standing tension between the father and the son." He said investigators were still reviewing the evidence to determine whether the charges should be upgraded to first-degree murder.

"We believe, and he will be charged accordingly, that he went to that apartment with the express purpose of killing his father," Farrell said.