Two persons, who were found guilty of murdering a family of four, including two children, were sentenced to death by hanging on Wednesday by a trial court in Tirunelveli district.
This is the second death sentence awarded by a trial court in Tamil Nadu this year. Earlier in November, a Coimbatore court had awarded death penalty to a man who had abducted, raped and killed two school going siblings.
In the present case, the chilling crime had taken place on April 19, 2007. A 35-year-old watchman Jayakumar alias Muthulali, his wife Shanmugathai (33) and their daughters Indira (11) and Bhuvaneswari alias Chithra (8) were killed at their home on Anajneyar Street at Meenavankulam in Tirunelveli district.
According to the prosecution, the prime accused in the case Katturaja (32) suspected that his wife was having an illicit affair with Jayakumar. Enraged by this he and his relative Krishnan alias Kitchi had attacked Jayakumar with sickles. His wife Shanmugathai who came to his rescue was also fatally stabbed. Later the accused also eliminated the two children - who witnessed the crime - in similar fashion.The victims belonged to the Scheduled Caste community. The Kalakadu police had registered a case of murder under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and also slapped charges under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against Katturaja and Krishnan.
Jayakumar was working as watchman of a farm at Kaylasaperi and residing along with his family at the farm. The trial was conducted at the 2nd Additional Sessions Court in Tirunelveli. “We examined as many as 30 witnesses who testified that the accused had committed the murders due to previous enmity,” said Special Public Prosecutor D Raja Prabaharan.
Delivering the verdict on Wednesday, 2nd Additional Sessions Judge T S Nanda Kumar said, since the accused had committed a heinous crime of eliminating an entire family, the case fell within the ambit of the “rarest of rare” doctrine laid down by the Supreme Court for awarding death penalty, he said.