Original story: 8/09/16
Ms. Mirna Salihin was friends with Jessica Wongso. Both were design students at the Billy Blue Design College in Sydney, Australia. On January 6, 2016, Ms. Wongson laced Ms. Salihin’s coffee with cyanide as they lounged at the Olivier Restaurant at the Grand Indonesia mall on January 6, 2016 Jakarta, Indonesia cafe. The two had been friends for seven years.
Wongso planned to murder Ms. Salihin after Ms. Salihin advised Wongso to break off her relationship with a man that was “rough” and a “drug user”. While Wongso was the only person at the table, she put the cyanide in the drink and, when her friends arrived at the table, handed the drink to Ms. Salihin. She had an immediate reaction and while the other friend at the table tried to assist, Wongso sat silent and did nothing. Source: The Age: Coffee murder: Australian resident Jessica Wongso’s trial starts
Update: 8/09/16: Mental health may be an issue
It is believed Wongso has mental health issues. In the 12 months prior to the murder, Wongso attempted suicide four times, threatened colleagues, had a car accident while driving drunk, and had an Apprehended Violence Order placed on her by her ex-boyfriend (the same one Mirna Salihin warned against) after his car was vandalized. Ms. Salihin’s husband, Arief Soemarko, stated his wife was afraid of Wongso since the 2014 argument. Source: Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC): Alleged cyanide killer has mental health problems, AFP report reveals
Update: 8/15/16: Alleged killer ‘narcissist’
A psychologist testified on Monday that he viewed the CCTV footage of the poisoning. He stated, “She’s narcissistic with a huge impulse to be the center of attention.” He also described her as smart and that when she could anticipate an event she was calm but if something unexpected happened her emotion ignited. Source: News.com.au: Accused cyanide murderer ‘narcissistic’
Update: 8/30/16: Doctor testified that victim died before reaching the hospital
Mirna died before she arrived at the hospital. Prima Yudho, the doctor on duty at the hospital’s emergency unit on the night of the incident, left his patient at the time to attend to Mirna as he heard a nurse scream for help, as it was believed that Mirna was in critical condition. The emergency room staff performed CPR on her but there was no response or heartbeat. Doctors testified that Mirna died about an hour after drinking the laced coffee. Hani, another friend, tried a sip of the coffee that Mirna drank. Hani went to the hospital also, believing she was also sick. Doctors checked her out and determined that she had not been poisoned. No one witnessed Jessica placing the cyanide in the drink. However, all evidence pointed to her. Prosecutors will present at least 10 more witnesses and five experts. A verdict is expected by October 21. Source: Jakarta Post: Mirna died before arriving at the hospital
Update: 10/27/16: Wongso found guilty
Australian permanent resident Jessica Wongso has been sentenced to 20 years in jail for murdering her friend Mirna Salihin with a cyanide-laced coffee in a Jakarta cafe.
Wongso, 27, was found guilty of murder in an Indonesian court on Thursday evening.
“Jessica Kumala Wongso has been legally and convincingly proven guilty of committing premeditated murder,” presiding judge Kisworo, who uses a single name, said when reading the 377-page verdict over about four hours. Police alleged Wongso spiked her friend’s iced coffee with cyanide as they dined with another friend at an upmarket shopping mall in Jakarta in January.
The panel of judges concluded that Wongso plotted the murder and showed no regret for what it called a “vile and sadistic” crime. The alleged motive, that Wongso was angry that Salihin had suggested she break up with a troublesome boyfriend and was jealous of Salihin’s own relationship, was ridiculed by defence lawyers who said it “Could not be accepted by common sense“.
The judges accepted that motive, but the case had other failings, including surveillance video from the cafe, which did not show Wongso tampering with the victim’s coffee.
“So basically everything the prosecution said the judge repeated, and in the end decided that the premeditated murder was ‘sadistic‘ and thus convicted Wongso to 20 years in prison. Wongso is set to appeal the verdict.
Wongso, who had worked for New South Wales ambulance, faced hours of detailed questioning during the murder trial. Wongso indicated in the court that she will appeal the verdict, with reporters adding that her lawyers called it “the death of law in Indonesia“.
“There’s problems about what actually killed the victim. There’s a lack of evidence of Jessica Wongso poisoning, and there’s weaknesses in the autopsy process, so it seems that these matters were not considered in much detail by the judge,” he said. Source: ABC.Net.au: Cyanide coffee death: Jessica Wongso found guilty of Mirna Salihin’s murder