A New Jersey chemist with access to a near-undetectable poison was sentenced Monday to spend her remaining years of her life behind bars, reports CBS News on Sept. 30. Chinese-born Tianle Li, 40, was found guilty in July of fatally poisoning her hubby Xiaoye Wang in 2011. She won't be eligible for parole until she is 63 years old.
Li worked for over a decade at the New York City-based biopharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb, where she allegedly ordered the chemical thallium – a tasteless, odorless poison primarily used in manufacturing electronic devices.
While performing research on the effects of thallium on humans in 2010, prosecutors said Li had access to the so-called “perfect poison,” named so because in its purest form, it is virtually untraceable. Li poisoned Wang over a period of time, the court found, and did so because he was attempting to divorce her.
“This was planned, calculated and committed in a cruel and depraved manner,” state Superior Court Judge Michael Toto said.
Li’s attorney had sought a 30-year sentence, and maintains that his client is still innocent, stating they plan to appeal the verdict. At her sentencing Monday, Li read a brief statement, choking back tears and saying she prays daily for the soul of her husband.
In January of 2011, Wang was hospitalized with severe flu-like symptoms. He lapsed into a coma, later dying.
“She was secretly keeping a journal of all his symptoms, wondering when he was going to die,” prosecutor Christie Bevacqua said at the sentencing. “She calculated every aspect of her husband's murder; not only how to do it, but how to get away with it. She thought she was going to get away with this murder.”
The couple lived in Monroe, N.J., and have a 4-year-old son who is in the care now of relatives. Prosecutors pointed out that police had previously been called several times to their residence for domestic disturbances.
“She chose to murder her husband rather than allow him to divorce her,” said Bevacqua.