An Indian court, on Wednesday handed a rare double life sentence to a man who murdered his wife, 25, by making a cobra bite her while she was sleeping.
Sooraj Kumar, 28, was arrested at his home in southern Kerala state in 2020 after his wife died from snakebite.
A court in Kollam district held Kumar guilty of murder.
He was held guilty for poisoning his wife and making an earlier attempt to kill her using a Russell’s viper.
Judge M Manoj, sentenced the accused to two consecutive life sentences, but did not accept the prosecution demand for capital punishment considering his age and opportunity to reform.
The woman suffered the fatal bite in May 2020, while she was undergoing treatment for a snake bite just weeks earlie, her family became suspicious of him.
Her family had alleged that her husband was harassing them for a dowry.
Investigations showed that Kumar was behind both attempts, he hatched a plan involving renting snakes from a handler and carrying out an internet research on their bites.
India’s Supreme Court recently warned about a trend of snake-bite murders, as it denied bail to a woman and her lover accused of using a cobra to kill her mother-in-law in the northern state of Rajasthan in 2019.
The biggest challenge in the Kerala case was to prove that the snakebite was homicidal.
The prosecutor said the court was presented with a test that showed the difference between natural and induced bite marks.
The Hindu newspaper reported that two defendants were acquitted by courts in similar cases in recent years after prosecutions failed to prove that poisonous snakes were used as a “murder weapon,”