Husband denied bail in wife's death


A refugee from Myanmar who had his quest for asylum profiled by the Los Angeles Times was denied bail yesterday after being charged in the fatal stabbing of his wife.

Tialhei Zathang, 45, of Catonsville was charged with first-degree murder Sunday, police said. His family had been allowed to join him in the United States in September, after his four-year effort to remain in this country.

According to charging documents, police received a 911 call to the 300 block of Cedar Run Place for a cardiac arrest late Saturday. When paramedics arrived, they found Hlawntial Zathang, 35, suffering from a stab wound to her chest. She was taken to St. Agnes HealthCare, where she was pronounced dead.

The couple's two young children were home at the time, according to the document. The Zathangs' 10-year-old daughter told police -- through her uncle, who acted as a translator -- that she had heard her mother say: "What did you get the knife for, are you going to kill me?" Their 11-year-old son told police that he saw his father take a knife from a drawer and motion toward the children's mother, the charging document said.

Police arrested Tialhei Zathang on Sunday. Under questioning, according to the document, Zathang told police that he had an "accident" but didn't remember how it happened. He said he remembered drinking and having a problem with his wife. According to police, Zathang said the problem is that he drinks and his wife does not.

Tialhei Zathang's 1998 flight from the Southeast Asian country of Myanmar -- formerly known as Burma -- then to India, and his ordeal before an immigration judge were chronicled by the Los Angeles Times in 2001.

According to the Times, Zathang, a math teacher in Myanmar, told the judge he had been persecuted because he was a practicing Christian and was involved in the Myanmar pro-democracy movement. Initially, he was denied asylum.

He won asylum in 2002, according to the paper, but it took much longer to clear the way for his wife, young children and elder son to immigrate.

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