The Kerala police have filed a second chargesheet in the sensational Koodathayi serial murder case on Saturday. The second chargesheet was filed 25 days after the first chargesheet, which focused on the death of Roy Thomas, was filed on January 1.
The second chargesheet focuses on the murder of two-year-old Alphine Shaju, the only minor victim in the Koodathayi crime case, where 47-year-old Jolly Joseph emerged as the prime suspect in the murder of six members of her family.
The second chargesheet names Jolly as the main accused and contains detailed statements from eye-witnesses regarding the 47-year-old's actions at the housewarming ceremony in 2014 when the child died after 'choking on bread'.
"At different times, people at the party have seen Jolly doing different things. One person saw her picking up the bread to feed Alphine. Another person saw Jolly spread something on the bread. After she was fed, people saw the child walking for a bit and then collapsing on the floor, after which she was rushed to the hospital. Witnesses also said that the child was unusually crying a lot," KG Simon, Kozhikode (Rural) Superintendent of Police (SP), who heads the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the cases, said at a press conference on Saturday.
Simon added that another witness had seen Jolly dispose of the poison.
"This is, in every way, a crucial case for us. We started out with no evidence for the murder of the child. However, with statements from witnesses who were brought in for questioning, we have been able to link these incidents and establish the case. A total of 139 witnesses have been named in the chargesheet. However, we questioned close to double this figure for the entire story to emerge," he added.
According to Simon, soon after the bread and chicken gravy was fed to the child, the two-year-old went into a frenzy, demanding water.
"We have been able to establish that Alphine did not choke on bread and die, but was poisoned. On the day of her death, her mother, Cily, had gone to get dressed after asking other women there to feed Alphine. This is when Jolly brought two pieces of bread and some chicken gravy and the other women fed Alphine. When the child started crying, the women thought the chicken gravy was too spicy for her," Simon said.
Eyewitnesses have also seen Jolly wash her hands after the incident.
According to Simon, the primary motive behind the two-year-old murder's was that Jolly felt Alphine would be a burden on her and Shaju (Alphine's dad), whom she wanted to marry. Two years after Alphine's death, her mother Cily, too, died under mysterious circumstances in 2016. It was following this that Shaju and Jolly got married.
"The medical board that convened two times, too, concluded that considering the circumstances that led to her death, Alphine could not have choked on bread, but must have been poisoned. What is more worrying is that, despite knowing that the child has been hospitalised and had passed away, Jolly brought home food from the family's housewarming ceremony. She did not feel a twinge of guilt," Simon added.
The questioning of the witnesses was undertaken by Thamarassery Deputy SP Abdul Razack and Thiruvmbady Circle Inspector Shyju, along with other members of the Special Investigation Team.
According to the investigation team, the 47-year-old had been carrying around a small plastic box of cyanide in her handbag, which she would take with the tip of her finger and then wash her hands later.
Jolly also stands prime accused in the murder of her first husband, Roy Thomas, in 2011. An 8,000-page chargesheet names her and two others — MS Mathew and Prajikumar — who helped the 47-year-old procure cyanide.
Postmortem was only conducted on Roy, that too, on the insistence of his uncle, Mathew Manjadiyil, who was also found dead in mysterious circumstances. On January 1, the police submitted the chargesheet in Roy's murder.
Jolly has been accused of murder six people, which includes her mother-in-law Annamma Thomas, father-in-law Tom Thomas, first husband Roy Thomas, Annamma's brother Mathew Manjadiyil, Shaju's daughter Alphine and his first wife Cily.