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Canadian Guilty of Killing Husband

September 19, 2000

BALTIMORE (AP) _ A Canadian woman accused of stabbing her husband to death after he fell asleep during a discussion on their troubled marriage was convicted of voluntary manslaughter.

Alpna Patel, 28-year-old dentist, was found guilty Monday in the death of Viresh Patel, a physician. The 26-year-old was stabbed to death with a steak knife on March 24, 1999.

``The amount of blood on the bed speaks for itself,″ said jury forewoman Patricia Hall.

The couple’s May 1998 marriage was the focal point of a Canadian documentary about arranged weddings. The film portrayed them as a happy couple whose marriage had been arranged through ads placed in an Indian newspaper. Both sought a spouse who shared the same customs.

Defense attorney Edward Smith Jr. said Patel stabbed her husband after he attacked her for being disobedient toward his father.

But prosecutor William McCollum argued that Patel got angry when her husband fell asleep while she was talking about how to repair their failing marriage, and stabbed him while he slept.

This was Patel’s second trial in the killing. In February, jurors acquitted Patel of first-degree murder, but were deadlocked on charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter. Judge John Prevas ruled that Patel could not be retried for second-degree murder, but only for manslaughter.

Patel was handcuffed and led out of the court as her mother trembled and wept uncontrollably. Officers refused to allow her father to hug her as she left.

Patel faces up to 10 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for October 24.

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