"And you're told it's time to die": A Personal Contribution to the 2021 World Day Against the Death Penalty

The following text is excerpted from  Death Row Diary , by William Van Poyck. William Van Poyck -- who maintained his innocence -- was executed by the state of Florida on June 12, 2013.  The 58-year-old, convicted of the 1987 murder of Glades Correctional Institution guard Fred Griffis outside a West Palm Beach doctor’s office, offered his views on everything from prison food to movies to the blood lust of politicians who support the death penalty via letters he posted online with the help of his sister.  After his conviction, Van Poyck, with a reform school education, authored three books, one of which won first-place honors in the memoir category in Writer’s Digest 2004 Self-Published Book Awards.  Locked up with what the courts have deemed the worst of the worst, Van Poyck opened the doors to a secret world few can imagine... The following piece is excerpted from William Van Poyck’s dispatches written during the last two years prior to his own execution. "Robert Waterhouse was

India | Kerala Snakebite Murder: Convict Sent To 17 Years In Jail Followed By Double Life Imprisonment

A court in Kerala's Kollam District has awarded double life imprisonment to Sooraj S Kumar, who was found guilty of murdering his wife Uthra using a cobra.

The court which found the 27-year-old guilty on Monday on several counts sentenced him to 17 years in jail, which will be followed by double life imprisonment.

"According to the court, the accused will have to first serve 17 years and then only the double life imprisonment will come into force. So technically speaking unless the government gives the accused a remission, for the rest of his life he will have to be in jail," Public Prosecutor G Manoharan said.

He has also been fined Rs 5.5 lakhs for the shocking murder of his wife last year.

What happened?

Sooraj was arrested last year, days after his wife, 25-year-old Uthra was found dead inside her bedroom on May 7, 2020.

At the hospital, the reason for Uthra's death was declared as snakebite, but her parents suspected some foul play.

That was because a little over a month ago Uthra was bitten by a viper inside her husband's house and was still recovering from it.

Following a complaint by Uthra's parents, Sooraj was arrested and he confessed to killing her.

Made several attempts earlier

The probe also revealed that Sooraj had made several attempts earlier using snakes to kill Uthara.

Sooraj had purchased two snakes, a poisonous viper for Rs 10,000, and a cobra for Rs 10,000 from a local snake catcher called Suresh.

This was the first case in Kerala where a live snake was used as a murder weapon.

Given the nature of the crime, many including Uthra's parents had hoped that Sooraj would be awarded the death penalty.

Public Prosecutor said the one reason which went in favour for the accused was the consideration given by the court on his age and a chance for repentance and had no track record of a criminal.

Reacting to the verdict, Manimeghala, the mother of Uthara said they are disappointed by the verdict as they wished capital punishment for the accused.

"These are the flaws of the judiciary as there are loopholes. People get away using those loopholes. Had the extreme punishment given, it would have acted as a deterrent for others to desist from doing crimes. We will go in appeal," said the grieving mother.

Source: indiatimes.com, Bobins Abraham, October 13, 2021

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"And you're told it's time to die": A Personal Contribution to the 2021 World Day Against the Death Penalty