Houston: An Indian man was sentenced to life imprisonment in the US state of Florida for the gruesome murder of his wife in 2020 in the parking lot of a hospital where she was working as a nurse, according to a media report. Philip Mathew on Friday pleaded no contest to the first-degree murder of Merin Joy, his wife who was planning an escape from an abusive relationship, The Sun Sentinel newspaper reported.

The plea deal spared him from the possibility of a death sentence, the report said.

In 2020, Joy, 26, then a nurse at Broward Health Coral Springs, was stabbed 17 times. Police said Mathew blocked her car in with his, slashed her repeatedly, and then drove over her body on the ground before driving off.

One of her co-workers would later say Mathew drove over her “like she was a speed bump,” and as employees rushed to her aid, Joy could only cry to them over and over: “I have a baby.” Before she died, police said, she revealed her attacker’s identity.

On Friday, Mathew also pleaded no contest to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He was immediately sentenced to life in state prison with no possibility of release, plus a maximum of five years for the aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

The decision was made to waive the death penalty because of the certainty of the life sentence and because the defendant was giving up his right to appeal, said Paula McMahon, spokeswoman for the State Attorney’s Office.

Joy’s family remains devastated by their profound loss.

Joby Philip, a cousin on Joy’s side of the family, watched Friday’s hearing on Zoom from where he lives in Tampa, then translated the outcome to her family.

Joy’s mother is “glad to know her daughter’s killer would remain the rest of his years in jail and she’s relieved to know the legal process is over,” he said Friday.

(This story has not been edited by Press Exclusive staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)