The Supreme People's Court of the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong has given a death sentence to Do Van Minh, a former commune leader, for killing his relative Tran Nho Vuong after an intense proceeding that last two days.
Earlier, Minh was accused of killing Vuong, his cousin-in-law, and burning his body in the southern province of Binh Phuoc in an attempt to fake his own death for insurance benefit.
During the first day of trial, Minh, 50, admitted that he borrowed a total of VND24 billion (US$1 million) from various sources between 2016 and 2020.
He also claimed to have devised a scheme to evade the debt collectors in April 2020, which involves the purchase of an insurance package with him as the insured and his children and wife as the beneficiaries.
In case of his death, the insurance benefit would amount to VND18 billion ($780,000).
After his failed attempt to retrieve a body from a grave at Dak Nong’s Quang Khe Cemetery on April 25, 2020, Minh went to Vuong’s house on May 3 and drank with the victim before killing him with hammer strikes to the head.
Vuong’s body was later fetched to National Expressway 28 and burned by Minh in the early hours of May 4.
Subsequently, Minh fled the scene on his motorbike, but was caught by the police at Dong Xoai City of Binh Phuoc Province six days later.
During the proceeding, the trial panel rejected many new details and evidences presented by the defendant and agreed with the charges proposed by the People’s Procuracy of Dak Nong Province.
The panel condemned the act of killing of the defendant as “brutal” as the victim was attacked during his sleep and incapable to defend himself. It was considered an act driven by insurance profiteering.
|Mother of victim Tran Nho Vuong cries at the courtroom, January 8, 2021. Photo: Trung Tan / Tuoi Tre|
The jury upheld a verdict that sentenced Minh to death penalty for murder, on top of 18 years in prison for property appropriation, as well as another five years for vandalism and another four for defacing grave sites.
Minh also has to take other civil liabilities towards the victim’s family and relevant stakeholders.