Police believe a man hacked his wife to death with a 10-inch meat cleaver and seriously injured his mother-in-law outside the couple’s home on Thursday, the Burlington Free Press reports.
The incident occurred just hours after the suspect, 34-year-old Aita Gurung, was released from a Burlington, Vermont, hospital for mental health issues.
Gurung’s wife, 32-year-old Yogeswari Khadka, died as a result of the attack, while her mother, 54-year-old Thulsa Rimal, is in critical condition at a hospital.
According to police:
The violent and bloody episode started Thursday afternoon in the couple’s kitchen and then moved into a street.
Khadka had injuries to her arms, hands and skull, and Rimal is being treated for serious head injuries, according to Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo.
Neighbors attempted to intervene when the incident moved outside, with one man using a firearm to hold Gurung momentarily. But the neighbors were concerned they too might become victims.
“I heard a blood-curdling scream that you just can’t make up,” Sam Rollo, who was working near the home, told WCAX-TV.
Another witness said she heard Gurung say something like, “she betrayed me!”
Multiple officers later took Gurung into custody using a ballistic shield as protection, del Pozo said. The man’s shirt and pants were soaked in blood.
The couple’s 8-year-old daughter was attending school during the attack and was not physically injured.
Hours before the killing, Gurung had been released from a hospital where he had been taken for mental health reasons, del Pozo said.
The first known interaction police had with Gurung was last Saturday, when he entered a business and asked to speak with police. He reported having mental health concerns and domestic issues with his wife, del Pozo said.
Police interviewed Khadka, his wife, who said she believed her husband was having mental health problems and wasn’t taking his medication, but that he hadn’t been violent toward her.
Gurung was later admitted voluntarily to the University of Vermont Medical Center for a mental health evaluation. At the time, police did not have a basis to arrest him, according to del Pozo.
Prosecutors on Friday charged Gurung, a native of Nepal, with first-degree murder and attempted murder. He has pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail.
A judge has ordered competency and sanity evaluations.
[Feature Photo: Burlington Police Department]