Mill Creek man charged with slaying wife claims he was ‘sparing her’

Amid financial troubles, Vijayanarayana Dharman, 36, did not know if he was going to hurt himself or his spouse. Then he “lost his mind,” he told detectives.

News logo for use with stories about Mill Creek in Snohomish County, WA.

MILL CREEK — A former Amazon software engineer stabbed and killed his wife to spare her “the humiliation” amid stresses about his large credit card debt, prosecutors alleged in charges filed Thursday.

Vijayanarayana Dharman, 36, was arrested May 25 after he allegedly told police that he had killed his wife in their Mill Creek home in the 13600 block of 41st Avenue SE.

Dharman faces first-degree murder charges in his wife’s death. On Friday, Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Richard Okrent maintained the $1 million bail set after Dharman was arrested.

The slain woman had not been publicly identified as of Friday.

After getting married in India, Dharman and his wife moved to Mill Creek in 2021, despite the defendant secretly wanting to go back to their home country, he reportedly told police.

In February 2022, however, Dharman reportedly became “disenchanted” with his work and home lives and stopped reporting for his job at Amazon, where he worked as a software engineer. The defendant was fired in March of that year and had been unemploye since, according to the charging papers. Dharman did not tell his wife he hadn’t been working until the day before she died.

During his unemployment, Dharman piled up about $50,000 in credit card debt, according to a detective’s report. The defendant cashed out his 401(k) retirement funds and sold stocks, since he was the main source of household income.

For at least six months prior to the slaying, the husband had kept several weapons, including a hatchet and a few knives, under the bed in their home, according to police. He reportedly told detectives he put them there as an “escape.”

On the week of May 20, a declined DoorDash order from the family’s maxed-out credit card made Dharman’s wife suspicious of her husband’s debt and she ultimately found out about his unemployment, the charges say. The defendant reportedly assured his wife they were just behind on a couple payments and he would take care of it.

Around 10 a.m. May 25, the couple had a conversation in bed about moving back to India with their two young children to begin a new life. Dharman kept an insulation knife under his thighs, unsure if he was going to hurt himself or his spouse, according to the charges.

After their kids had left for school, the woman returned to the bedroom and Dharman reportedly tried to move the knife under a pillow. His wife noticed he was hiding something and tried to reach for it. When she discovered the knife, Dharman told his wife he was planning on hurting himself, according to police.

At this point, Dharman told investigators he “lost his mind” and stabbed her to death, according to the charges.

He thought he was “sparing her the humiliation” of returning to India, the detective wrote in a report.

The defendant then washed the knife, drank some whiskey in the garage and contemplated suicide, he told investigators.

But he instead called 911 to report he’d killed his wife, according to police. He cooperated with officers as they arrested him.

The couple’s children are now in the custody of family members, according to court documents.

Court records suggest Dharman has no criminal history.

Dharman, who is represented by public defender Jeffrey Wolfenbarger, remained in Snohomish County Jail this week.

Wolfenbarger did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Maya Tizon: 425-339-3434; maya.tizon@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @mayatizon.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Kim Skarda points at her home on a map on Thursday, June 20, 2024 in Concrete, Washington. A community called Sauk River Estates has a very steep slope above it. There is a DNR-approved timber sale that boarders the estate properties, yet they were not consulted about the sale before approval. The community has already appealed the sale and has hired their own geologist to conduct a slope stability report at the site. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Beneath steep slope, Concrete neighbors fear landslides from logging above

Nielsen Brothers plans to cut 54 acres of timber directly behind the community of 83 homes. Locals said they were never consulted.

Law enforcement respond to a person hit by a train near the Port of Everett Mount Baker Terminal on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2 killed in waterfront train crashes were near Mukilteo ‘quiet zone’

In June, two people were hit by trains on separate days near Mukilteo Boulevard. “These situations are incredibly tragic,” Everett’s mayor said.

Rob Plotnikoff takes a measurement as a part of the county's State of Our Waters survey at Tambark Creek in Bothell, Washington on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County stream team bushwhacks a path to healthier waterways

This summer, the crew of three will survey 40 sites for the State of Our Waters program. It’s science in locals’ backyards.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
4th suspect arrested after Mountlake Terrace home robbery

Police arrested Taievion Rogers, 19, on Tuesday. Prosecutors charged his three alleged accomplices in April.

A 10 acre parcel off of Highway 99, between 240th and 242nd Street Southwest that the city of Edmonds is currently in the process of acquiring on Monday, July 10, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds ditches $37M Landmark public park project off Highway 99

The previous mayor envisioned parks and more in south Edmonds, in a historically neglected area. The new administration is battling budget woes.

Edmonds school official sworn in as Mount Vernon supe

Victor Vergara took his oath of office last week. He was assistant superintendent of equity and student success in Edmonds.

A photo of "Tazz," an Argentine white Tegu still missing near Granite Falls. (Provided photo)
Tazz the missing tegu reunited with owner in Granite Falls

The 4-foot lizard went missing Friday evening. Searchers located him in a barn, 1 mile away from his home.

A closing sign hangs above the entrance of the Big Lots at Evergreen and Madison on Monday, July 22, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Big Lots announces it will shutter Everett and Lynnwood stores

The Marysville store will remain open for now. The retailer reported declining sales in the first quarter of the year.

President Joe Biden speaks at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, in Greensboro, N.C., on April 14, 2022. Biden plans to nominate Michael Barr  to be the Federal Reserve's vice chairman of supervision. The selection of Barr comes after Biden's first choice for the Fed post, Sarah Bloom Raskin, withdrew her nomination a month ago (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Washington Democrats voice support for Biden’s decision to drop out of presidential race

Some quickly endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris to replace him on the ballot.

Everett
Teenager in stable condition after Everett drive-by shooting Saturday

Major Crime Unit detectives were looking for two suspects believed to have shot the teenager in the 600 block of 124th Street SW.

Miners Complex tops 500 acres in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

Nine lightning-caused fires force trail closures and warnings 21 miles east of Darrington. No homes are threatened.

FILE — President Joe Biden arrives for a Medal of Honor ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, July 3, 2024. Biden abandoned his campaign for a second term under intense pressure from fellow Democrats on Sunday, July 21, upending the race for the White House in a dramatic last-minute bid to find a new candidate who can stop former President Donald Trump from returning to the White House. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)
Biden drops out of race, endorses vice president Kamala Harris

The president announced the decision on social media Sunday.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.