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Herdsman gets death for wife's murder

Updated: 2013-08-16 07:44
By Huang Zhiling in Zoige county, Sichuan ( China Daily)

A Tibetan herdsman was given a death sentence by a court on Thursday for murdering his wife, burning her body and making it appear as though it was an act of self-immolation.

Herdsman gets death for wife's murder

Drolma Ja, the convicted man.

A statement from the intermediate court in Aba Tibetan and Qiang autonomous prefecture in Sichuan province, said Drolma Ja, 33, of Kajia village was detained on March 14 on suspicion of using a scarf to strangle his 29-year-old Tibetan wife Goncho Oma of Hongguang village.

On the morning of March 11, Goncho Oma found half a bottle of beer in her husband's car. She was very angry, because he had sworn in front of a living Buddha that he would give up drinking. They couple quarreled.

In the afternoon, they took their 7-year-old daughter Yungco, a grade-one pupil, to their home in the town of Dazhasi, the statement said.

Drolma Ja's wife was still angry and entered their house first, leaving him and their daughter behind. Soon after he went to the entrance to the house, his wife dashed out with a knife, saying she did not want to live any more.

Drolma Ja snatched the knife, wrapped it in a handkerchief and placed it in a drawer under the TV.

After placing her necklace and bracelet in a cabinet, Goncho Oma said she wanted to go out, but her husband pushed her to a sofa, beat her on the chest several times and they started to quarrel again, according to the statement.

After 9 pm, Drolma Ja told his wife and daughter to go to sleep, but his wife did not obey.

At about 11 pm, Drolma Ja found her lying on the floor between the sofa and a tea table. She had been trying to strangle herself by pulling both ends of a scarf wrapped around her neck.

Drolma Ja said, "If you feel sorrowful, I can help you die." He then pulled the scarf forcefully and soon afterwards his wife became motionless and died.

He carried the body to a wall near the house and burned it with gasoline at about 2 am on March 12 to mislead police into thinking she had burned herself to death, the statement said.

At about 7 am, Drolma Ja called police, saying his wife was missing. Her body was found about an hour later.

An autopsy found that his wife died from suffocation before her body was burned.

Han Hongwu, a lawyer from the legal aid center in Aba Tibetan and Qiang autonomous prefecture, who defended Drolma Ja, said, "Soon after Drolma Ja was summoned by the Zoige county police bureau for investigation for the first time (on the afternoon on March 13), he admitted he had strangled his wife."

Su Haijun, the other lawyer who defended Drolma Ja, asked the judges to treat him leniently, because his daughter is only 7.

He showed a written statement bearing the fingerprints of Goncho Oma's herdsmen parents. They asked for leniency for Drolma Ja, saying there was nobody to take care of his daughter if he received a death sentence.

Wu Wanshun, the chief judge, said when he read the verdict that the judges did not take the plea for leniency into consideration.

Zhang Maonan, a prosecutor who accused Drolma Ja of making it appear as though his wife had died from self-immolation in an area with good social order, said the murder had had a very negative impact.

The case had been misleadingly reported by some foreign media as a case of self-immolation, which caused a very bad influence.

Soon after the death sentence was announced, Drolma Ja, a wealthy herdsman and bar owner, said he loved his wife and regretted killing her on impulse.

He said he will appeal against his sentence to a higher court.


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