Search history of man who killed wife with cobra reveals dark research

Earlier this week, Soraaj S. Kumar was found guilty of murdering his wife with a venomous cobra—and now, evidence reported from the trial reveals an alarming pattern of online research that lead up to the crime.

On Monday, the 28-year-old from Kerala, India, was found guilty of committing “snake homicide” against his wife, Uthra, on May 7, 2020. The 25-year-old died in her sleep at her parents’ house, where the couple had been staying with their young child. She was found by her mother the next morning.

According to Vice, Kumar committed the crime both to get access to his wife’s gold jewelry and because he wanted to be with another woman. Notably, a week before her death, he reportedly withdrew gold items that had been stored in their joint bank account.

A man in India was found guilty this week of murdering his wife with a cobra. Pictured, a deadly King Cobra on display at a zoo in Bristol, England.
Matt Cardy/Getty Images

The murder was Kumar’s third attempt at the crime. The second attempt, in March 2020, left Uthra hospitalized for two months due to a viper bite. She was still recovering at the time of the May 7 incident.

Details from the court case show that Kumar had been planning the murder for quite some time. According to The News Minute, police found that Kumar had been routinely researching deadly snakes as far back as October 2019. Between then and March 2020, his phone’s search history showed that he had been looking into vipers, cobras, and other snakes. Kumar also searched for snake catchers in the area, including one that he eventually purchased a snake from.

Prior to the crime, Kumar had also watched YouTube videos on how to properly handle snakes, reported Vice.

In addition to his online trail, prosecutors staged a reenactment of the bite using a cobra and a dummy: the test showed that the snake couldn’t have naturally bitten Uthra in the way that it did. Rather, it appeared to have been forced or otherwise urged to bite her.

These two key pieces of evidence helped “the prosecution had to establish Uthra was killed by the cobra, its bite [was] not natural and it was planted by her husband,” explained special prosecutor G Mohanraj to The Hindu.

It was also shown in court that Kumar had obtained a snake from a snake-catcher—and a DNA test proved that a snake bite was, indeed, what killed Uthra. She had also been drugged with sleeping medication so she wouldn’t wake from the painful bite.

On Wednesday, Kumar was sentenced for his crimes, which included murder, attempted murder, poisoning, and tampering with evidence. He now faces 17 years in prison on top of two two life sentences. The punishment reflects the severity of his actions, reportedly described by the court as “diabolical, cruel, heinous and dastardly.”

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