The man wanted more from the family and couldn't adjust with the woman because she was disabled.
When Uthra's mother came into her daughter's room, she saw her lifeless body on the floor, her left arm dotted with blood. The worried family immediately rushed her to a local hospital in Kollam, in the southern Indian state of Kerala, but the 25-year-old woman was already dead.
Here's the thing, snake bites are very common in India, and a post-mortem on May 7, 2020, confirmed she'd been bitten hours earlier by a highly venomous Indian spectacled cobra, according to court documents, according to CNN.
The postmortem report could have concluded the case as an unfortunate death but Uthra's parents were suspicious, which convinced them to file a case. The only reason they felt there was some kind of foul play in the death of their disabled daughter was because there were previous attempts at taking her life, reports The News Minute.
Uthra may have died due to a snake bite, but the real killer was her husband, Sooraj S Kumar. He was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison for crimes that the ruling judge called “definitely diabolic, cruel, heinous and dastardly.”
Kollam Woman's mysterious death of snake bite was a planned homicide.. Husband under arrest. Uthra was recuperating after being bitten by a snake & she suffered another snake bite which turned fatal.@manoramanews pic.twitter.com/c6WISCqtN0— Nisha Purushothaman (@NishaPurushoth2) May 24, 2020
The two met via an online matrimony service and married in March 2018. "We wanted to find someone who would make her happy," said Uthra's brother, Vishu. "She was a girl who was a little different. She had a learning disability. We wanted a man who could take care of her."
"Uthra was someone who never saw bad in anyone," Vishu said. "Her learning disability meant she didn't have the means to see that she was being used."
Kumar, a 27-year-old bank clerk, came from a low-income background reportedly married Uthra "with the object of financial gain." When the couple got married, Kumar accepted a dowry of 720 grams of gold, a Suzuki sedan, and 500,000 rupees (about $6,700) in cash.
Within a year of getting married, Kumar and Uthra welcomed a baby boy. But, soon, Kumar's parents wanted more from Uthra's family. They reportedly wanted Uthra's parents to pay for household appliances, a car, furniture, renovation work, and admission fees for an MBA course for Kumar's sister.
Uthra's father met all of his son-in-law's demands and even paid him 8,000 rupees ($107) per month to take care of his daughter. But Kumar wasn't satisfied, and ultimately he decided to kill her.
In late 2019, while plotting his wife's murder, Kumar started obsessing over snakes; he'd spend hours on the internet looking up videos. On February 26, 2020, Kumar purchased a snake—a deadly Russell's viper— from a local handler. He left the snake on the staircase of his house the next day and asked Uthra to fetch his phone from the first floor bedroom, hoping that it would bite and kill her.
"But he failed in the attempt since Uthra saw the snake and raised alarm calls," according to the judgment. Kumar captured the snake and kept it in a plastic bag. On March 2, he tried again. Kumar mixed sedatives into a sweet bowl of Indian rice pudding before Uthra fell "fast asleep."
He then forced the snake to bite Uthra, but she was rushed to the hospital. She spent 52 days in Pushpagiri Hospital in the Kerala town of Thiruvalla recovering from the viper bite, and when she was finally released to her parents on April 22, 2020, she was unable to walk.
When Uthra was away, Kumar began researching about cobras, and just 15 days after Uthra was back home from the hospital, he smuggled another snake he'd bought into her parent's house. This time it was a cobra. Just like the previous time, he gave his wife a glass of juice laced with sedatives, and when she was asleep, he threw the same into her room, but it didn't bite.
Kerala's snake bite murder case: Sooraj S Kumar guilty, sentencing tomorrow https://t.co/f1kUpD6nZw— thaiparampil (@thaiparampil) October 12, 2021
Angered, he went in, held the snake, and forced it to sink its venomous fangs into Uthra's hands twice. He tried to pass this off as an accident, too, but he failed. "Cobras generally do not bite unless they are highly provoked. And after 8 p.m. they're generally dormant," said Hari Shankar, an assistant inspector general at Kerala Police, who worked as lead investigator on the case.
Finally, Uthra slept through the bite, which is described to be nothing short of excruciating pain. A snake catcher named Vava Suresh also said that a snake that bites for self-protection would not strike twice, as the animals spare their venom.
Though Kumar pleaded not guilty to the charges, the judge convicted him of four offenses, including attempted murder and murder, and he was given two life sentences.
The family may have received justice, but they will never be able to get over the pain of losing their child. However, their focus is to now help Uthra's son grow into a smart man. "We will make sure he knows who his mother was."
Cover Image Source (Representative): Getty Images | Padmang Chaudhari | EyeEmDisclaimer : This is based on sources and we have been unable to verify this information independently.