A man in India convicted of murdering his wife with a cobra has been sentenced to life in prison.
Sooraj Kumar, 28, was sentenced on Wednesday for the May 2020 murder of his wife, Uthra, 25, in what prosecutors called the “rarest of rare” case, Agence France-Presse reported .
Prosecutors said Kumar, a bank employee, was unhappy with his marriage and feared Uthra’s divorce would force him to return a large dowry, including a new car and around $ 20,000 in cash.
Kumar, who was convicted of murder Monday after pleading not guilty, first decided last March to release a very poisonous Russell’s viper into Uthra’s room, where she was bitten by the snake and passed by. nearly two months in hospital, authorities said.
As she subsequently recovered at her parents’ home, prosecutors said Kumar executed his twisted plot using a cobra he obtained from a snakebender and threw it at her. sleeping woman, prosecutors said.
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Kumar even stayed in the room after his wife was bitten and continued with his morning routine when alerted by Uthra’s mother the next day, prosecutors said.
“The method of execution and the evil plan of the accused to murder Uthra, his bedridden wife, make him [the case] fall into the category of the rarest of the few, ”said a prosecutor who requested the death penalty.
Uthra’s parents became suspicious of their son-in-law after he tried to take control of his property after his death, Agence France-Presse reported.
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Kumar was sentenced after being convicted of murder in the state of Kerala, NBC News reported. Prosecutors charged him with marrying his wife for financial gain and plotting to kill her after being dissatisfied with their marriage.
“If he gets divorced he will have to part with all his wealth,” Kerala Deputy Superintendent of Police Hariram Shankar told NBC News. “If he kills her with an explicit murder weapon, the wealth should also be returned. So he wanted to get rid of her by something that looked like an accident.”
But the woman’s death was clearly a “well-planned murder,” Shankar said.
The snake handler, identified only as Suresh, was also arrested for providing the snakes to Kumar, the Indian Express reported.
Fatal snakebites in India are not uncommon, according to NBC News, citing data from the World Health Organization showing 1.2 million such deaths between 2000 and 2019.
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The country’s Supreme Court, meanwhile, has suggested snake killing may be part of a growing trend in India, where another man, Krishna Kumar, was one of three defendants charged with murdering a woman. of Rajasthan in June 2019 by leaving a poisonous snake in a bag near its bed.
The Indian Supreme Court denied Kumar bail on October 6 for the murder of Subodh Devi, NBC News reported.
Devi was killed after finding out her stepdaughter, Alpana, was having an affair, court documents show. When confronted with Devi, Alpana and her partner went to a snake charmer with Kumar and bought a poisonous snake that bit Devi, killing her.
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