Australian student Jessica Wongso will face 20 years in prison after she was found guilty of murdering her friend with cyanide-laced iced coffee. After months of trial, the verdict was handed down by a panel of three Jakarta judges in Central Jakarta District Court.
The 28-year-old Australian resident, who came back to Jakarta in December 2015, organized a meet-up with her 27-year-old friend Mirna Salihin, with whom she studied in Australia. Prosecutors believe that Jessica wanted to avenge the pain she felt over her break-up with former boyfriend Patrick O’Connor and decided to make Mirna as her target after the latter made comments about him.
On January 6, Jessica organized another get-together with Mirna and their friend Boon Juwita at Oliver Restaurant in an upmarket mall in Jakarta Central City. It is believed that Jessica arrived before her two other friends and ordered Vietnamese iced coffee, Mirna’s favorite drink.
Based on police investigation, Jessica arranged three gift bags around the beverage to block the view so she could put in cyanide into the drink. Moments after Mirna took a sip of her drink, she started foaming at the mouth. By the end of the day, Mirna was dead.
While everyone rushed around Mirna, Jessica did nothing but stare, according to prosecutors.
The judges concluded that Jessica was carrying an emotional baggage and was still hurting over her split with O’Connor in late 2014 when she first met up with Mirna and her husband Arif Soemarko. Apparently, seeing the happy couple prompted Jessica to do the unthinkable.
Jessica was spared from death penalty after the Australian Federal Police assisted in the investigation of the case.
After the verdict was given, Jessica, who showed little emotion and eerily smiled as she was led away, said: “I don’t accept this decision because for me, it’s not fair and very one-sided.”
It is believed that Jessica would appeal the ruling.
What are the symptoms of cyanide poisoning?
Cyanide, a very toxic substance which stops the cells of the body from being able to use oxygen, can cause poisoning to individuals exposed to it.
Onset of symptoms usually start within a few minutes of exposure. Here are some of signs of cyanide poisoning.
- heneral weakness
- bizarre behaviour
- excessive sleepiness
- abdominal pain