2 Papua New Guinean men sentenced to death for beheading 'witch'

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea - Two men who murdered a woman by chopping her head off with a knife have been sentenced to death by hanging, a newspaper reported Thursday.

The National Court ordered Sedoki Lota, 22, and Fred Abenko, 20, of Papua New Guinea's Milne Bay province to be hanged after they pleaded guilty to murdering the woman, who they accused of killing their fathers with witchcraft, the Post-Courier newspaper said.

The court was told that on July 9, 2005, the two men entered Marcia Kedarossi's home, blindfolded her and tied her hands before beheading her with a bush knife.

Justice Mark Sevua rejected the defense lawyers' bid to have the men jailed.

"It is my view that the degree of criminal culpability and cruelty exhibited by the prisoners is so enormous that imposing a determinate (jail) term is inadequate and will not fit the crime," he was quoted as saying.

Court officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

Papua New Guinea is an impoverished Pacific nation which shares an island north of Australia with Indonesia's easternmost Papua province.