December 12, 2018
The Supreme Court on Wednesday commuted the death penalty to life term for the accused in the sensational murder of six of a family at Aluva in Ernakulam in 2001.
The Bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur pronounced the verdict on a review petition filed by the accused Antony which was taken up after a previous review petition and the mercy plea had been rejected.
Antony had been found guilty by the CBI of murdering six members of a family on January 6, 2001. The trial court had pronounced death sentence which was upheld by Kerala High Court in 2006. Three years later, the Supreme Court rejected his plea and upheld death sentence. Later, Antony’s review petition and mercy plea to the President were also rejected.
While preparations were under way for his execution, Antony filed a fresh review petition after a Supreme Court verdict in 2014 stating that such death penalty review petitions had to be heard in an open court. The apex court admitted his review petition and stayed the verdict. Hearing the matter, the court,, the court commuted the death sentence on Wednesday, two years after the review petition was filed.
It was on January 6, 2001, that Antony, a distant relative, hacked to death businessman Augustine (47), wife Baby (42), children Jesmon (14) and Divya (12), Augustine’s mother Clara (74) and his sister Kochurani (37).
On that evening, Antony visited Augustine’s house which he used to do regularly. The family decided to go for a second show to a theatre nearby leaving Augustine’s mother and sister as Antony would stay back till their arrival.
Antony, who was a temporary driver at the Aluva municipal office, planned to go abroad and needed more than Rs 60,000 for this. Kochurani had promised to help him. During the talk over money, she went back on her word and Antony killed her. Clara, who tried to intervene, was also killed. He then waited till the others arrived and hacked them too.
Antony then fled the scene and left for Dammam. He was summoned by the police and arrested on February 18. He is being lodged at the Poojappura Central Jail in Thiruvanthapuram.