Man sentenced to death after faking wife's self-immolation

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-8-16 9:32:07

A court in southwest China's Sichuan Province on Thursday sentenced a Tibetan man to death for killing his wife and burning her body to make it look as if she had self-immolated.

The Intermediate People's Court in the Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Aba handed down the death penalty to Drolma Gya, 32, for homicide, as well as deprived him of political rights for life.

The court found that at 11 p.m. on March 11, Drolma Gya choked his 29-year-old wife Kunchok Wangmo to death with a scarf in their apartment in Zoige County following an argument over his drinking.

Drolma Gya had promised to quit drinking but was caught drinking by his wife that night, according to the court.

His wife pretended to strangle herself with a scarf during an ensuing argument, at which point Drolmya Gya grabbed the scarf and told her "if you have suffered this much, I will help you to end it" before strangling her to death, according to the court.

He then took the body outside, doused it with gasoline and set it alight at 2 a.m. the following morning, the court said.

According to the defendant's confession, he burned the body because he believed an apparent self-immolation would help him cover up the crime, as well as preserve his dignity and that of their daughter.

Police detained him on March 14 for alleged homicide after an investigation.

Drolma Gya received a five-year jail term for theft in 1998 and was released in 2000 when his sentence was commuted.

The open trial lasted just over three hours and was attended by the relatives of the victim.

Drolma Gya's lawyer Su Haijun said the man and his wife were generally on good terms with each other, adding that the woman's parents were not likely to believe that their son-in-law had killed her.

"What I did was completely wrong. I burned her body for fear people would know that I killed her," he was quoted by Su as saying before the trial.

"I didn't mean to kill her. I loved her," Drolma Gya said after the trial.

He said he would appeal his verdict to the Sichuan Provincial Higher People's Court, as he has a seven-year-old daughter and elderly mother who he wishes to take care of.

"How can they get through this if I'm gone? I don't want my daughter to become an orphan," he said.

He said he did not expect such severe consequences for burning his wife's body, adding that he acted due to a sudden impulse and had immediate regrets.

"It would have been better if I called the police directly when it happened," he said.

He said he hopes his daughter will grow up to be healthy and never learn about her father's crime.

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