A man who allegedly killed his wife and 2-year-old son with a hoe on Tuesday was charged with premeditated murder yesterday, Kampot Provincial Court officials said.
The victims, Mok Saray, 24, and her toddler, Tha Rothpiseth, were found dead in their Kampot home on Tuesday morning. The accused, 35-year-old Om Raksmey, fled to Preah Sihanouk province, where he was arrested after a police chase. His 5-year-old son was with him at the time and placed in the care of relatives.
Raksmey now faces life imprisonment under Article 200 in the Criminal Code for the severity of the crime, but some locals and relatives have suggested he suffers from a mental illness.
Kampot town police chief Nhem Vet said the accused, a former Koh Touch commune clerk, had attempted suicide six months ago, and was addicted to alcohol and drugs and had been released from a rehabilitation centre in early November.
The suspect’s cousin, Lieng Doeurn, yesterday told The Post that Raksmey did have an addiction problem and suffered from a mental health condition.
“Besides, drinking, smoking marijuana and consuming drugs [methamphetamine], he has had a mental breakdown since before he got married,” Doeurn said.
Legal expert Sok Sam Oeun said while Cambodian law did have an insanity defence, he had never seen it play out in court.
“We have the defence of insanity in the law, but in a way, it is very hard, because we need a medical examination,” he said, adding a defendant must be found insane only for the duration of the crime.
“Who can say that he’s insane? It is very hard to find any doctor who would say that, because of the quality of the doctors [here].
”But the victim’s sister, Mok Saro, 45, denied Doeurn’s mental illness claim and said his violence was fuelled by drink.
“When he did not drink or consume drugs, he was a polite and good man, but when he drinks and smokes, he changes into a savage man,” she said.
Mourning the raw loss of her sister, she said she would welcome a life sentence.
Ek Chheng Huot, Kampot provincial deputy prosecutor, said he had seen no medical documents to suggest the accused had an unstable state of mind.
“We have not received the documents from the doctor to prove that the suspect is mentally unwell,” he said.
“The suspect admitted that on that morning, he used the hoe to hit his wife and son because he was drunk and got a serious headache.”
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ERIN HANDLEY