Sea Burial or Cruise Murder?

What do you do if you accidentally knock your wife unconscious when she tries to commit suicide on a cruise? Do you throw her overboard after suddenly remembering that she wanted to be buried at sea? Yes, pretty far fetched. But that is exactly the defense offered in a criminal trial against a Chinese cruise passenger who is accused of murdering his wife and then pitching her overboard during a cruise aboard the Macau Success last year. The Standard newspaper in China explains that Wang Weilie, age 49, stands accused of murdering his wife Yang Wenjuan, age 43, during a cruise on September 24th last year. A cruise passenger witnessed the couple on a deck when Wang pushed Yang's head backwards towards the railing. He rushed to notify the cruise staff but returned to find the couple gone but blood covering the deck. Cruise security guards observed bloodstains on Wang's fingertips. He said the injuries to his fist, chest and knee were caused during a struggle to prevent his wife from killing herself. However, when she lost consciousness, he threw her overboard. A post-mortem examination found bruises, abrasions and a broken arm. A pathologist concluded Yang "died of drowning after sustaining significant but otherwise non-fatal injuries." According to an article published last year, the couple have a nine year old son. The bizarre story reminds me of the violent death of cruise passenger Karen Roston whose husband who threw her overboard on the last night of her honeymoon cruise from the Sundancer cruise ship operated by Admiral Cruises of Miami. Her husband, Scott Roston, concocted a story that high winds blew her overboard as she ran on the jogging track on an upper deck. But evidence introduced at his criminal trial indicated that the winds were just 4 – 5 mph. FBI agents found Ms. Roston's hair embedded in the rubberized jogging track along with a broken earring matching one she was wearing in a photograph taken at a shipboard dinner. Her husband was observed with scratches on his face after her disappearance. A medical examiner concluded from an autopsy that Ms. Roston had been strangled and then thrown overboard . . . Photo credit: shipphotos.com.au

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