NEW DELHI (AP) — A court sentenced two married dentists to life in prison Tuesday for killing their 14-year-old daughter and their housekeeper in a case that has dominated headlines and polarized Indians.
Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, from the New Delhi suburb of Noida, had reportedly broken down in tears when they were convicted Monday and vowed to appeal the verdict.
Defense lawyer Rebecca John said after Tuesday's sentencing that the case against the Talwars, based largely on circumstantial evidence, amounted to a "witch hunt" and said "there has been a serious miscarriage of justice in this case."
The couple came under suspicion soon after their daughter, Aarushi, was found dead in her bedroom in May 2008, her throat slit with surgical precision.
Police initially named the Talwars' missing Nepali housekeeper as the prime suspect, until his lifeless body was found a day later on a terrace above Aarushi's room.
The double-murder became one of the most closely-watched whodunits in recent memory in India, with dramatic turns by police and prosecutors seizing national headlines and launching debates over details of the case.
Prosecutors for the Central Bureau of Investigation had asked for the death penalty.
"Such crime comes under the rarest of rare cases," prosecutor Naresh Yadav said. "So they should be awarded maximum punishment."
The investigation determined both victims had been hit with a golf club and later had their throats slit.
Police offered several possible motives in prosecuting the parents, including an honor killing.
Several other suspects had been questioned by police. After the case stalled, the Talwars in 2011 demanded a fresh investigation.
The couple was also sentenced to an additional five years in prison for destruction of evidence, while Rajesh Talwar got another year for "furnishing false information to the police regarding the murder of his daughter" by the 45-year-old housekeeper.
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