Military General Confesses to Double Murder

A two-star military general accused of murdering his wife and 6-year-old daughter confessed to the crime Wednesday when questioned at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court for the first time since his arrest last month.

Kim Marintha, a Royal Cambodian Armed Forces major general, was arrested in Thailand on September 13 while attempting to cross the border into Laos by car, six months after allegedly murdering his wife Va Dary, 30, and their daughter in Phnom Penh.

Investigating Judge Khy Chhai said Wednesday that the general, who is facing two counts of premeditated murder, admitted to the crimes while being questioned in his chambers.

“He confessed to killing his wife and daughter and added that it was only he who killed them, not the others involved in the case, Judge Chhai said Wednesday. “He said that he had argued with his wife because he was jealous.”

Police say Maj. Gen. Marintha enlisted the help of his son-in-law Chea Sok Samnang and his son Kim Sem Rithy to dispose of the bodies in a forest in Kompong Speu province, using plastic bags and a cooler he purchased in advance.

Mr. Sok Samnang is in pretrial detention as a suspected accomplice to the murders, while Mr. Sem Rithy, who is accused of hiding the bodies and using illegal weapons, remains at large.

According to the victims’ family, Maj. Gen. Marintha carried out the murders when he discovered that his wife was having an online relationship with a Cambodian man living in Japan.

Bun Keo Lin, the general’s lawyer, said by telephone that questioning of his client at the municipal court lasted two hours, and declined to comment further.

“I cannot say more because I am the defendant’s lawyer,” he said.

Leaving the courthouse Wednesday, Maj. Gen. Marintha, wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and a blue surgical mask, also declined to comment.

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