Husband of slain Kenyan runner Agnes Tirop enters not guilty plea

Distance runner Agnes Tirop was 25 when she was stabbed to death in her home in Kenya. She had recently broken the women's 10km world record in Germany, and finished fourth in the 5000m at the Tokyo Olympics. Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images for ADIDAS

Ibrahim Rotich, husband of slain Kenyan Olympic runner Agnes Tirop, was charged with her murder and pleaded not guilty in a Kenyan court on Tuesday.

Tirop was found stabbed to death in her home in the Rift Valley town of Iten on Oct. 13. She was 25.

Rotich, 41, had been ordered last week to undergo a mental health test before entering a plea. He appeared in court in handcuffs, wearing a black jacket and a cap. He looked down at the floor for most of the proceedings.

Rotich's lawyer, Joseline Mitei, declined to discuss the details or results of his mental health evaluation.

"I intend to put formal application in court for my client to be released on bail," Mitei said.

The bail hearing is set for Dec. 1.

Rotich had been held in custody since mid-October, per a court order, to allow time for the investigation, and a mental health assessment, to be conducted.

Police had arrested Rotich in the coastal city of Mombasa the day after Tirop's body was found, saying he was trying to flee the country.

In September, Tirop broke the women-only record in the women's 10K at the Road to Records Race in Germany with a time of 30:01. She took bronze in the 10,000-meter races at the 2017 and 2019 World Championships, and also won the 2015 World Cross Country Championships.

Tirop also won the Africa Cross Country Championship in 2014 in Kampala, Uganda, as well as the World Junior Cross Country Championship in 2013 in Bydgoszcz, Poland.