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Patel found guilty in wife's death

Posted December 18, 2009
Updated December 19, 2009

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— A Wake County jury on Friday found Harish Patel, of Cary, guilty of killing his estranged wife and setting her body on fire last year. He faces a sentence of life in prison without parole.

The body of Vanlata Patel, 57, was found in a brush fire along Interstate 85 in Mecklenburg County, Va., on Jan. 16, 2008. Her husband was arrested days later and charged with first-degree murder.

Prosecutors argued that Harish Patel suffocated his wife in his apartment because they were going through a contentious divorce. They fought over money, and he was suspicious that she was involved romantically with a mutual friend, witnesses said.

"My sister will never come back, but I think she's at peace," Mina Patel said. "I just miss her dearly."

Defense attorneys argued that authorities quickly focused on their client, and that investigators avoided evidence that might have led them in another direction.

Harish Patel immediately declared his intention to appeal the conviction and thanked his lawyers and supporters.


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  • shortcake53 Dec 21, 2009

    All i can say is YAY! What a dispicable human being.

  • kikinc Dec 18, 2009

    That's one way to bring the divorce rate down. Just kill your spouse instead. Really pathetic.

  • 3779LRRP Dec 18, 2009

    ranger4702. The media should have put that information out in bold letters, but I don't think they did. The average person in the masses are not privy or educated in the rule of law. I'm in that catagory. That law education takes a couple years after graduating from four years of college. Of course, I guess you know that.

  • ranger4702 Dec 18, 2009

    The law in NC is now life without parole. That means he will be in prison until he is stone cold dead. Geeze people need to get educated on the law.

  • 3779LRRP Dec 18, 2009

    The legislature needs to re-write the idiotic law that life imprisonment is not life imprisonment. AND DO IT NOW. Change the law and quit the bickering that is going on now about the good behavior credits and the release of criminals who were sentenced to life.

  • Wake1 Dec 18, 2009

    A life for a life! Nothing more, nothing less!!

  • time4real Dec 18, 2009

    surprise Ishmale!

  • pcredbone316 Dec 18, 2009

    So for HIS punishment WE get to provide him food and lodging for years to come???? What a sweet deal for him, and a bad deal for us.

  • freedomdiddy Dec 18, 2009

    OK, people, pay attention. For crimes committed in North Carolina since October 1, 1994, there is NO PAROLE. Period. Patel will die in prison. It is not a matter of opinion. It is the law. For all of you who have been screaming that life means life, you are correct and have been for over 15 years.

  • Kris0805 Dec 18, 2009

    If I am not mistaken when you get life in North Carolina that means life. No parole