HANOVER COURTHOUSE, Va. (WRIC) – A Virginia man convicted of beating his wife to death with at least 19 blows from a hammer has been sentenced to life in prison.
Harshadkumar Jadav showed no emotion when the guilty verdict was handed down in June 2017 and again when jurors recommended a life sentence this week.
The body of 30-year-old Reena Jadav, was found in the early-morning hours of Sept. 5, 2016, in a yard near her home in Mechanicsville, just outside Richmond. Authorities later determined she had been bludgeoned to death with a hammer.
“The defendant brutally murdered his wife. She was beaten in the head with a hammer,” said Hanover County Chief Deputy Shari Skipper. “The medical examiner suggested no fewer than 19 times, which is an absolutely terrible way to die.”
Her husband was arrested after a person found a hammer wrapped in bloody clothing along U.S. Highway 301 and turned them over to authorities. The hammer had the victim’s blood on it, while a pair of men’s underwear held DNA matching both the suspect and his wife, investigators said.
The person who initially found the items told authorities that they started washing them to donate them to Goodwill, but investigators were still able to recover usable results.
The husband told investigators that he was at home, asleep, when the killing happened, but at about that time his cell phone was pinging off towers near where the murder weapon was found, investigators testified at the trial.
When deputies arrested him a week after the killing, the husband had $10,000 cash, his passport and documents about his wife’s $1 million life insurance policy, authorities said.
His underwear was the same brand and style as the underwear found with the murder weapon, officials said.
At trial, the victim’s relatives testified that her husband became detached after her death and donated her belongings to Goodwill one day after her funeral.
The jury deliberated for two hours before finding the defendant guilty of first-degree murder.
State sentencing guidelines suggested he should serve 22 to 38 years for killing his wife. But the jury agreed with prosecutors and the victim’s family that such a sentence wouldn’t be enough and recommended life in prison.
The judge also agreed and imposed the jury’s recommendation.
“Reena can now look down from heaven and see that justice has been served,” the victim’s father said outside of the courtroom last June.
Her brother echoed his comments Thursday.
“This sentencing helps provide some closure for our family so we can continue to heal,” he said. “Reena’s cheerful spirit will always be within our hearts.”
The defendant plans to appeal, arguing that instructions to the jury were flawed, his attorney said.
“We’ll go to an appellate court and argue whether these were correctly given or not correctly given and how they might have impacted a jury’s decision,” Charles C. Cosby, Jr. told WRIC.WHAT OTHERS ARE CLICKING ON:
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