CORAL SPRINGS (CBSMiami) – A man convicted of killing his wife has been sentenced to life in prison.
Shortly after 3:00 p.m., the jury found 67-year-old Munawar Toha guilty of first degree murder in the death of his wife Surya who police said was dumped in a lake.
Toha dropped his head when he heard the verdict.
After their decision, a juror told told CBS4’s Joan Murray they could not ignore all the evidence.
Earlier in the day, Toha decided he would not testify at the trial. A day before, prosecutors wrapped up their case against Toha.
Toha is convicted of killing his wife Surya in 2010 after he made a televised tearful plea for her safe return when he claimed she disappeared. The jury did not believe Toha’s message was sincere.
Prosecutors had surveillance video of man pushing a car into a lake behind an industrial park on Powerline Road in Pompano Beach before taking off on a bicycle.
A short while later, Toha showed up at a friend’s house riding a bicycle. Investigators eventually saw the surveillance footage and found the submerged car. Surya’s body was inside. She died from multiple blows to the head.
In court Tuesday, however, a prosecution witness said a key piece of DNA evidence failed to incriminate Toha.
DNA expert Christopher Comar said while Surya’s blood and DNA were found on numerous pieces of evidence, none of the DNA found on the tape used to bind a plastic bag over her head belonged to Toha.
Toha’s defense attorney Martin Fein argued that if his client didn’t handle the tape, who did?
Prosecutors ended their case by calling up a lead detective in the case and an undercover Fort Lauderdale Police detective who said Toha tried to hire him to kill four witnesses who were planning to testify against him in the case. In a recording of their conversations, Toha is heard saying “I need to clean house.”
Toha was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder two years ago and is already serving 30 years for it.
A letter written by Surya was also shown in court. The letter described her fear that she was going to be killed.
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