Apriadi Gunawan, Medan, North Sumatra – The North Sumatra Police have arrested a woman, her lover and a hired hitman for the murder of her husband in Medan, North Sumatra, last year.
North Sumatra Police chief Insp. Gen. Martuani Sormin alleged the murder of Jamaluddin, a judge in Medan District Court, was initiated by the wife, identified only as ZH, after she found out that her husband had cheated on her with another woman.
Jamaluddin married ZH in 2011 after divorcing his first wife. Martuani said ZH had confessed to plotting to murder her husband in March last year.
ZH initially asked for the help of someone identified only as LJH but the man refused, he said.
ZH then asked for the help of a man identified only as JP, with whom she had an affair, they met at Ringroad City Walk's Coffee Town in Medan on Nov. 25 last year.
"ZH and JP planned the murder and told RF [the third suspect]. ZH gave RF Rp 2 million [US$143] to buy a cellphone, shoes, T-shirts and gloves," Martuani said during a press conference in Medan on Wednesday.
On Nov. 28, ZH brought the two suspects at around 7 p.m. to her house. "ZH previously allowed JP and RF to enter the house and hid them on the third floor," Martuani said.
The murder took place on Nov. 29 last year at around 1 a.m. JP and RF entered Jamaluddin's bedroom, in which ZH was pretending to sleep between Jamaluddin and her daughter.
The two male suspects smothered Jamaluddin with a piece of fabric as he slept, according to the police.
ZH calmed her daughter, who had briefly awoken, when the crime took place. At around 3 a.m., the suspects searched for a place to dump the body.
Jamaluddin's body was found by locals inside a black Toyota Land Cruiser Prado car on Nov. 29 at around 1 p.m. on a palm oil plantation in Suka Dame village, Deli Serdang regency, North Sumatra on the same day. The body was found behind the driver's seat with both hands tied.
The police's initial forensic laboratory result found no signs of violence on the victim's body, leading to a conclusion that the victim died of suffocation.
Investigators initially faced difficulties in discovering the perpetrators because of a lack of evidence, Martuani said.
The police then asked for assistance from the National Police cybercrime directorate's forensic laboratory to obtain additional information for the investigation. "Hence, the police were able to reconstruct the murder case," he added.
The suspects have been charged under Article 340 of the Criminal Code on premeditated murder.
Court spokesman Erintuah Damanik said the revelation that the murder had a personal motive was a relief, ending speculation that the crime was related to cases handled by Jamaluddin.
"The arrest of the three suspects stopped speculation that the murder related to a case handled in Medan District Court," Erintuah said.
ZH's lawyer Onan Purba said his client would follow the legal procedure. "Should our client become a suspect, we'll accept [the decision]. We will follow the legal process," Onan said. (sau)