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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Indian-origin woman in US found guilty of setting husband afire

Shriya Bimal Patel was convicted on Monday of dousing her husband in gasoline and setting him on fire in 2012.

Houston | Updated: March 11, 2014 4:20:25 pm

A 27-year-old Indian-origin woman in the US state of Texas has been found guilty of causing arson that killed her husband two years ago.

Shriya Bimal Patel was convicted on Monday of dousing her husband Biman Patel in gasoline and setting him on fire in 2012. Bimal, 29, died at the burn centre of the San Antonio Military Medical Center, nearly five months after the April 17 incident.

She faces five up to 99 years in prison.

In closing arguments yesterday, the state asked jurors to recommend a life sentence for Shriya, who witnesses have said intentionally ignited an explosion that killed Bimal.

Defence lawyers, however, sought probation for her. They said Shriya would be deported to India should she receive community supervision.

Testimonies ended on Friday when defence attorneys called their only witness, an associate professor of Indian culture from the University of Texas. Her lawyers have argued that her husband killed himself and forced her to help. Prosecutors said Shriya, who had studied in London and lived in Dubai was used to an upper-class lifestyle, was upset because Bimal did not lived up to her expectations.

They said she was disappointed that Bimal had been laid off from a telemarketing job and was struggling to pay his rent. Bimal and Shriya had met via an arranged marriage service in India.

Arson investigators testified that burn patterns on Bimal’s body showed he was lying in the tub when Shriya used a cup to throw the gasoline on him.

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