Tue, Jul 22, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Death demanded in stabbing case

HEADING FOR TRIAL:Officials said psychological evaluations showed the suspect, Cheng Chieh, was not mentally incapacitated at the time of the attack

Staff writer, with AFP and CNA

Police officers yesterday escort Cheng Chieh, center, the suspect in the Taipei Mass Rapid Transit stabbing rampage, to the New Taipei District Court building yesterday for a hearing. He has been charged with four counts of murder and 22 counts of attempted murder.

Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times

The New Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday said it would seek the death penalty for a university student accused of killing four people and wounding nearly two dozen others in a stabbing spree on the Taipei Mass Rapid Transit system in May.

Cheng Chieh (鄭捷), 21, was charged with four counts of murder and 22 counts of attempted murder in connection with the attack on an MRT car on the Bannan Line on May 21.

“The accused’s actions fit the definition of mass murder. His means were ruthless and inhuman, and caused irreparable harm to the victims and their families. We demand the court sentence him to death,” prosecutors said in a statement.

The prosecutors described Cheng as “antisocial, narcissistic, apathetic and suicidal,” adding that in elementary school, Chang had vowed to “kill people in revenge” after having trouble with classmates.

The prosecutors said that psychological evaluations have shown Cheng was not mentally disordered at the time of the stabbings and that he is fit to stand trial.

Cheng has been detained since the incident.

His parents had called for him to be sentenced to death to help ease the pain inflicted on the victims and their families, calling their son’s actions “unforgivable.”

They made the plea during a tear-filled visit on May 27 to an impromptu shrine to victims of the stabbing spree erected outside the Jiangzicui Station (江子翠) in New Taipei City.

“I hope that the judge will quickly put Cheng on trial and rule on the case, and by doing so, give some consolation to the victims,” Cheng’s father told reporters at the time.

Parents of 26-year-old Chang Cheng-han (張正翰), who was killed in the attack, said that even if Cheng was sentenced to a hundred death penalties, it would not bring back their son.

Chang’s mother, Chang Su-mi (張素密), said that she hopes the government and the Taipei Rapid Transit Corp (TRTC) could establish a task force to assist victims’ families in handling legal and compensation matters.

TRTC is seeking NT$20.61 million (US$687,000) in compensation from Cheng for operational losses after it reported a drop of about 945,000 passengers in the 10 days following the attack.

Additional reporting by Lin Yi-chang

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