Killer given 18-year term

Anne Arundel man fatally stabbed his wife as their child watched

July 08, 2008|By Nicole Fuller | Nicole Fuller,Sun reporter

An Anne Arundel County man was sentenced yesterday to 18 years in prison for fatally stabbing his wife - while at least one of their children watched, prosecutors said - in the kitchen of their Brooklyn Park home over allegations that she was having an affair.

Soman N. Thamby, 51, who pleaded guilty in May to second-degree murder in the killing of Lesa Lynn Thamby, 35, slouched in his chair, his head cast downward, as he listened to victim impact statements from his oldest child and his wife's family before his sentencing.

"I want to see my father put in jail for life because he killed my mother, who was my best friend," said Justin Thamby, 11, his voice steady. "He broke my heart by taking her away."

The children - Justin, younger brother Jacob, 6, and their sister Jewel, 3 - are grieving over the loss of their mother, described in court as devoted and loving, said Tina Staley, the victim's sister. The children are being raised by their maternal grandmother.

"Obviously, this is a family that is utterly devastated by the defendant's actions," said assistant state's attorney Pamela Alban, who prosecuted the case with co-counsel Brooke McKay.

Prosecutors had requested the maximum sentence, 30 years, citing what they termed Thamby's "depraved, vicious, uncaring and dangerous" actions and fears from the victim's family that he would harm them if he were released. But defense attorney Warren A. Brown argued that because his client had no criminal record, he should received 12 years in prison, the low end of the sentencing guidelines.

Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Philip T. Caroom sentenced Thamby to 30 years, with all but 18 suspended, reasoning that while he had never been in trouble with the law in the past, killing his wife while his children were home was especially egregious.

"At least two of his children were in the house," Caroom said. "As a parent, Mr. Thamby should have been aware of [this] and should have stopped himself. ... "

Upon his release from prison, Thamby will be on supervised probation for five years, and have no "uninvited" contact with the victim's family and his children, unless court-ordered. Brown said federal immigration authorities have put a detainer on Thamby, who came from India about 20 years ago, so that when he has his first parole hearing in about eight years, he will likely be released and deported.

Brown said he understood the victim's family had an emotional response to their loss, but criticized them for allowing the son to remain in the courtroom while the details of the case were discussed, saying the family had instilled hate in the children for their father.

"The only thing [the victim's family is] interested in is making things as bad as they can for [Thamby]," Brown said. "I don't understand why, for the life of me, they would have an 11-year-old boy up in here. ... I question their concern for him."

Thamby, whose brother-in-law from his hometown of Prune, India, was in court, apologized tearfully.

"I'm extremely sorry for what happened," Thamby said. "I'm sorry for all the pain and suffering. I want to tell my three special kids ... Daddy loves you all."

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