she heard Merin screaming "help me" several times
A US Indian man has been charged with 1st-degree premeditated murder for allegedly stabbing his wife multiple times and running over her body with his car.
Philip Mathew, aged 34, was arrested and charged on July 28, 2020, in Coral Springs, Florida.
He is currently being held without bail in Broward County, Florida, for the murder of Merin Joy.
It is believed that Mathew had been waiting outside Broward Health Coral Springs hospital where Merin worked as a nurse.
The couple are originally from Kerala and have a two-year-old daughter, Nora, who was in Kottayam at the time of the murder with her grandparents.
The couple were no longer living together, Mathew had been living in Wixon, Michigan, and doing various odd jobs.
According to a police report, officers received a call from Broward Health Coral Springs at around 7:30 am. The call came as a possible hit and run.
Officers arrived at the scene and found Merin with multiple stab wounds.
Though she was outside the hospital where she worked, her wounds were too severe to be treated there. She was taken to another hospital but died an hour later.
A witness told Coral Springs Detective Jeff Payne that she heard Merin screaming “help me” several times and saw Mathew attacking the victim.
The witness said that Mathew then got into his car and ran over the victim’s body before fleeing the scene.
Another victim tried to intervene by grabbing Mathew, however, the alleged killer swung a knife at him.
Hospital security captured footage of the incident. CCTV footage showed Mathew driving up to his estranged wife’s car and blocking her in.
He then approached her car and dragged her out. The footage showed the US Indian man repeatedly striking his wife and dragging her through the car park.
While in the ambulance, Merin told officer Nicole Hildebrant that the attacker was her husband. She repeated his name a second time.
On July 19, Merin called police saying that she was going through a difficult divorce and that Mathew was posting online messages wanting her to come back to him.
However, police did not go out to investigate.
In 2018, police responded to a domestic disturbance at the couple’s home as Mathew threatened to kill Merin and himself.
Mathew and Merin had travelled to Kerala in December 2019.
Her parents had reportedly filed a domestic violence order against Mathew but one of his friends denied it.
Mathew returned to the US on January 10, 2020, while Merin returned on January 29, leaving their daughter with her parents.
Hours before her death, Merin made a video call to her family.
Joice John Madasseril, a friend of Mathew, said that the US Indian had called him on the night of July 27, saying that Merin had told him he could never again see her daughter, “hurting Philip’s heart.”
Hospital staff who knew Merin and Mathew said the couple was undergoing a difficult divorce and that Merin feared for her safety.
In Florida, a sentence for first-degree murder is a life sentence without the possibility of parole or the death penalty. First-degree murder charges are invoked when the crime is pre-meditated.