Man Found Guilty of Murdering Wife With Venomous Snake

A 28-year-old man from Kerala, India, has been found guilty of murdering his wife with a venomous cobra.

Soraaj S. Kumar was found guilty by the Kollam Additional Sessions Court and his sentencing will take place on Wednesday, local website Onmanorama reported on Monday.

The website said the court noted that the "snake homicide" was one of the "rarest of the rare" cases.

According to the case, Kumar's wife Uthra, 25, died in her sleep at her parents' home in Anchal on May 7, 2020, after she was bitten by a venomous snake.

Kumar, who works at a bank, had released the cobra after buying it from a snake catcher, with the motive of the reptile biting and killing her, according to court documents.

On the night of Uthra's death, she and Kumar had gone to their room after dinner, the victim's mother said.

But the next morning, Kumar—who reportedly is usually a late riser—woke up early and went out. Uthra didn't wake up, and her mother went into the room and found her lying unconscious. The snake was later discovered and killed.

S. Harishankar, assistant inspector general at the Kollam Rural Police Department, told Onmanorama that after Kumar's phone was searched, investigators found evidence that he was researching different types of snakes, including the one that bit Uthra.

A DNA test also confirmed that Uthra was bitten by the snake that a snake catcher had given to Kumar.

"We have also found the container in which Sooraj had kept the snake. The DNA found in the container matched with that of the snake on which the post-mortem was conducted," he told the website.

Snakebites are painful and those bitten can't sleep due to the pain, Harishankar said, adding that the postmortem found that Uthra had been drugged with sleep-inducing Cetirizine.

Due to the intricate nature of the case, Kerala police tried to reconstruct Uthra's murder using a cobra and a dummy. Their experiment established that the snake had not bitten her on its own; it was forced to bite, and Kumar was the only person with his wife at that time, Harishankar said. The video of the demonstration was submitted to the court and played a crucial role in the prosecution's case.

In May 2020, New Indian Express reported that the investigation team suspected Kumar had killed his wife to claim life insurance money.

The couple had a year-old son together.

A stock image of a cobra. A 28-year-old man from Kerala, India, has been found guilty of murdering his wife with a venomous cobra. heckepics/iStock