Three people were charged in Embu on Monday with killing Catholic priest Michael Kyengo Maingi and burying him in a shallow grave.
Michael Muthinji, Kavivya Mwangangi and Solomon Mutava allegedly committed the crime on the night of October 8 at Makima location in Mbeere Sub-county.
They did not plead to the charge as Senior Resident Magistrate T.K. Kwambai said they must first undergo mental health checks at Mathari hospital.
The court issued the order following a request by prosecutor Brenda Nandwa.
The suspects were taken to court under tight security and then led straight to the dock.
They will remain in police custody for three days, a period during which they will be taken for the tests.
Mr Kwambai said that after the examinations, Mr Muthinji and Mr Mutava will be remanded at Embu GK Prison, and Mr Mwangangi at Kerugoya GK Prison.
The case will be mentioned on November 20, when the suspects will plead at the High Court to a charge whose penalty upon conviction is death.
Father Maingi, a 43-year-old based at Thatha Parish in the neighbouring Machakos County, went missing on October 8.
He was seen driving at Kaewa area in that county but his vehicle was missing when he was found dead a week later. The car was later found abandoned in Kilifi.
Church leaders and family members said the priest was abducted while on a sabbatical.
His brother Boniface Mutiso reported the matter to police, who then arrested a prime suspect.
The suspect led them to the banks of Mashamba river where the priest had been buried.
Father Maingi's body was found stuffed in a gunny bag with the throat slit.
Police have not established the motive for the killing but they reported that large sums of money had been withdrawn from his bank account and his car stolen.