HCMC man gets 7 years for killing sick wife in suicide pact

By Binh Nguyen   September 27, 2022 | 04:27 pm PT
HCMC man gets 7 years for killing sick wife in suicide pact
Huynh Quang Dat is tried by the HCMC People's Court, September 26, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Binh Nguyen
A man in HCMC was sentenced to seven years in prison for killing his wife in a suicide pact after they ran out of money for her treatment.

Huynh Quang Dat, 56, said at the Monday trial he was no longer able to pay for his wife's treatment, and because she constantly wished for death, he thought about euthanizing her before committing suicide himself.

Dat's wife, Ngoc, had been ill for 15 years.

On November 4 last year, Dat electrocuted his wife to death at a hospital. Then he wrapped an electric wire around his wrist and attempted to electrocute himself several times. Some relatives found out what was happening. They called for help and broke the circuit.

Dat told the court that his wife's health had deteriorated further after Covid-19 infection last year, making her unable to move her arms and legs. Given their poor circumstances, they were unable to pay their hospital fees, so both of them decided to commit suicide.

"I did what I did because it was my wife's wish. The time spent in prison has helped me realize I was wrong. I hope the court would be lenient and give me a lighter sentence, a chance to redo my life and take care of my father-in-law," Dat said.

At the court, Dat’s son affirmed that for 15 years, his father was the one who took care of his mother after she had a stroke. In 2021, when his mother got infected with Covid-19 and her health deteriorated, Dat had to borrow VND100 million ($4,213) from relatives to pay her hospital fees.

"Their circumstances were very harsh, leaving my parents with no other choice. That’s why they thought about killing themselves. I hope the court will give my father a lighter sentence," the son said.

Defending his client, Dat’s lawyer said he’d loved his wife and had taken care of her for many years, long after she was no longer able to take care of herself. Dat had also tried to find every way he could to treat her, even taking her to a rehabilitation center, which costs tens of millions of dong a month.

"The defendant's action stemmed from extreme desperation and his desire to die with his wife. This is a painful incident and a family tragedy," the lawyer said.

The court said while the situation of Dat's family was indeed precarious, it was not hopeless to the point that there was no option left.

Dat, as a healthy individual with a sound mind, should have encouraged his wife, but instead resorted to ending her life. After considering all factors in the case, Dat was sentenced to seven years in jail.

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