Story at a glance

  • Prosecutors said Sooraj Kumar first tried to take out his wife by letting a venomous viper snake loose on her.
  • She was bitten by the snake and required hospitalization for close to two months.
  • Prosecutors say Kumar later acquired a venomous cobra from a snake handler that he threw on his wife while she slept.

An Indian man has been sentenced to life in prison for using venomous snakes to murder his wife for his own financial gain, according to NBC News

Sooraj Kumar was handed a double life sentence earlier this week in connection to the death of his wife Uthra last year. 

Prosecutors said Kumar first tried to take out his wife by letting a venomous viper snake loose on her. She was bitten by the snake and required hospitalization for close to two months, according to NBC News. 

When his wife survived the attack, prosecutors say Kumar later acquired a cobra from a snake handler. He starved the animal for a week to make it more aggressive, and thus more likely to deliver a devastating bite to his recovering wife. 


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Authorities said Kumar threw the cobra at his wife while she was sleeping in her parents home. The cobra’s bite killed the 25-year-old woman, according to CBS News

Prosecutors said Kumar began planning to murder his wife after becoming dissatisfied with their marriage, and wanted it to look like an accident. 

“If he divorces her he will have to part with all her wealth,” Hariram Shankar, assistant superintendent of police in Kerala, told NBC News. “If he kills her through an explicit murder weapon, the wealth would also have to be returned. So he wanted to get rid of her through something that would resemble an accident.” 

Police said Kumar’s phone records showed he was in touch with snake handlers and had watched snake videos online before the deadly incident, according to NBC.


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Published on Oct 15, 2021