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Indian dad given life term for choking disabled daughter

June 28, 2019

Wesley Mathews, the Indian-American father of Sherin Mathews, the three-year-old child found dead in a Texas ditch in 2017, has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his daughter.

After nearly three days of testimony, the jury at a court in Dallas, Texas, unanimously decided the sentence for 39-year-old Wesley. He could be given parole after 30 years. Wesley's wife Sini, who came to the court towards the end of Wesley's trial, did not testify in her husband's defense. She was earlier charged with child endangerment but was let off in March this year, after 15 months in jail, as there was not enough evidence.

Wesley had pleaded guilty on charges of causing injury to the child by omission. This has a lighter sentence compared to capital murder and tampering with evidence. In his testimony, Wesley talked about the night when Sherin died and apologised for lying to the police. He said that Sherin choked while drinking milk, and that he wrapped her in a blue bag and left her body in a ditch. The body was found two weeks later in a bad condition.

The prosecution dismissed his story and said:

This was supposed to be the beginning for Sherin. This was supposed to be the man to protect her. He should have loved that little girl and done anything to protect her. He didn't. - Sherin Mathew prosecutor

Wesley and his wife, who are originally from Kerala, adopted Sherin from an orphanage in Bihar in July 2016. Sherin, who had a disability, disappeared in October 2017. The father first said that he sent her out early in the morning as punishment for not drinking milk. Two weeks later her body was found in a decomposed state.

Wesley later changed his story saying that he had tried to force her to drink milk when she choked.

There are also reports that Wesley neglected and injured the child before her death. She had many fractures in her arms and legs and these injuries were not reported to the doctor.

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