Death sentence upheld for Vietnam woman who killed cop-husband

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The country's highest court upheld  Wednesday the death sentence handed down to a woman who killed her husband, a police officer, with a pesticide and sleeping pills two years ago.  

Du Kim Lien, 45, had her appeal rejected by the Supreme People's Court in Ho Chi Minh City for what the court described as her "cruel and vile" acts.


Lien was sentenced to death by a HCMC court at the conclusion of her first trial March 29 for murdering Tran Xuan Chuyen, 52, a city traffic police officer by giving him an overdose of sleeping pills and later injecting him with a pesticide.


She reportedly killed him for his refusal to sell their house to pay off her debts, which totaled VND1.3 billion (US$61,700). She had planned to pawn the house to repay her debts after he died.


He had threatened to divorce her.


On the night of March 11, 2011, she dissolved 10 sleeping pills in a glass of milk and gave it to him to drink.


The next morning, finding he was groggy but alive, she put five more in some water and poured it into his mouth.


A day later she injected a pesticide into him, and Chuyen finally died. She told their two sons that he'd had a stroke.


But an autopsy revealed he had been killed by the combination of the pesticide and sleeping pills.

Vietnam shifted from the firing squad to lethal injection with the passage of the Law on Execution of Criminal Judgments that took effect on November 1, 2011.

But it has not been implemented even once since the chemicals have not been available, leaving more than 530 prisoners on death row.

An amended decreeon lethal injection, to take effect Thursday, will no longer mention the barbiturate anesthetic sodium thiopental, muscle relaxant pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride the chemicals used for lethal injection in many countries.

It will stipulate generally "drugs that make a person lose consciousness, relax the muscles, and stop the heart."

The ministries of Health, Public Security, and National Defense will identify the chemicals required and their quantities.

The decree does not stipulate whether the drugs will be imported or bought locally.

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