US Indian man has received a life sentence for killing his wife, who worked as a nurse.
A court in Florida heard that Philip Mathew stabbed Merin Joy 17 times after blocking her car in 2020.
The couple were originally from Kerala.
Merin had been coming out of Broward Health Coral Springs hospital where she worked. After Mathew blocked her car with his vehicle in the car park, he stabbed her 17 times.
He then drove over her body before fleeing the scene.
According to one of Merin’s colleagues, Mathew drove over his wife “like she was a speed bump”.
When co-workers went to the 26-year-old’s aid, she could only cry them over and over, saying “I have a baby”.
Before succumbing to her injuries, Merin revealed the identity of her attacker. This led to her husband’s arrest.
It is believed that Merin was planning to leave her husband due to an abusive relationship.
During the trial, Assistant State Attorney Eric Linder told the court:
“He stabbed her multiple times, and then after he stabbed her, leaving her body on the ground, he then proceeded to run over the victim, showing clear intent.”
Mathew’s attorney, assistant public defender Walter Miller, argued that the murder was a crime of passion and not premeditated.
But Mr Linder pointed out that he bought a knife, a hammer, and other items from Home Depot before the attack and then waited for Joy to leave work.
He said: “Your honour, he drove to her location of her place of work and laid in wait for her to leave.”
On November 3, 2023, Mathew pleaded no contest to the first-degree murder of his wife.
He also pleaded no contest to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Mathew was immediately sentenced to life imprisonment with no possibility of release, plus a maximum of five years for the aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
His decision not to challenge the charges spared Mathew from the possibility of a death sentence, which is legal in Florida.
Speaking about the conviction, Paula McMahon, a spokesperson for the State Attorney’s Office, said:
“The decision was made to waive the death penalty because of the certainty of the life sentence and because the defendant was giving up his right to appeal.”
After the verdict, one of the victim‘s relatives said:
“Her mother is glad to know her daughter’s killer would remain the rest of his years in jail and she’s relieved to know the legal process is over.”
Despite Mathew’s life sentence, Merin’s family remain devastated by her death.
Merin is survived by her parents Priavom Marangattil and Mercy Joy, who live in the Keralan village of Monipally.
The nurse had a two-year-old daughter named Nora.
She will now live with her grandparents in India.