A New Jersey chemist named Tianle Li who was convicted of poisoning her husband Xiaoye Wang was sentenced to life in prison today. Her reported motive? She would've rather killed her husband than let him divorce her. Wow ...
The judge stated that Chinese-born Li, who worked for a decade for one of America’s biggest pharmaceutical companies, Bristol-Myers Squibb, was a cold, calculating murderer who prosecutors said ordered murdered her husband with the poison thallium, after researching its effects on humans. They also told the judge that Li "was secretly keeping a journal of all [her husband's] symptoms, wondering when he was going to die. She calculated every aspect of her husband’s murder; not only how to do it, but how to get away with it. She thought she was going to get away with this murder." Horrifying, right?
But it's also heartbreaking. Not only because Li -- who won't be eligible for parole for more than 62 years -- will be leaving behind a 4-year-old son (in the care of relatives now), but it's also utterly shocking and beyond sad to think that she murdered her husband because she felt his death would be easier to deal with than a divorce ...?
To think that a woman would feel it necessary to murder her husband to maintain her pride or avoid being shamed by being a divorcee is a hard pill to swallow. Especially when we live in a time and place where divorce is treated so lightly -- for better or worse -- and is almost considered more normal than long and healthy marriages!
This haunting murder definitely raises a slew of questions. Was the threat of divorce really the only motivating factor? Was Li threatened by something else? (Police had been called to the residence several times for domestic disturbances, the prosecution said.) Should this make for more hoops for people in her position to jump through to obtain certain substances like thallium? It's hard to say just yet, but with a promise from Li of an appeal to the verdict, perhaps this isn't yet as closed a case as it seems.
What's your reaction to Li's sentence and the details of the case?