Sat, May 13, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Killer of ‘Little Light Bulb’ gets life prison term

DEATH DENIED:Despite a psychiatric test showing Wang Ching-yu could have been executed, a judge said international conventions precluded the death penalty

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Wang Ching-yu, who was convicted of killing a child, arrives at the Shilin District Court in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

A man who killed a four-year-old girl with a meat cleaver last year was yesterday sentenced to life in prison for what judges called a depraved crime carried out in an extremely vicious manner.

The Shilin District Court found Wang Ching-yu (王景玉), 34, guilty of murdering the child in Taipei last year.

Wang was convicted of intentional homicide of a child, which carries a maximum punishment of a life sentence and deprivation of civil rights for life, the ruling said.

The judges refrained from imposing the death penalty, citing international human rights conventions that prohibit “cruel or inhumane punishment against defendants with disabilities or suffering from mental disorders.”

On March 28 last year, Wang bought a meat cleaver from a store before attacking the girl, nicknamed “Little Light Bulb” (小燈泡), who was riding a bicycle with her mother in Neihu District (內湖).

He used the cleaver to strike her neck region 23 times.

Her mother, Claire Wang (王婉諭), said she tried to stop the attack, but it happened too fast for her to react, and that Wang Ching-yu overpowered her.

Prosecutors requested the death penalty and said they would consider an appeal.

Investigators said that Wang Ching-yu had prior convictions for drug offenses, while a psychiatric evaluation showed he had symptoms indicating schizophrenia.

However, the evaluation showed that Wang Ching-yu was cognitively normal and had normal control when carrying out the crime, which meant he did not qualify for exemption from the death penalty under the provisions of the Criminal Code.

Chief Judge of the court’s administrative section Huang Chieh-ju (黃潔茹) said judges could not impose the death penalty because the nation is seeking to comply with international conventions, including the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

“A medical diagnosis determined that the defendant had schizophrenia and other mental disorders,” Huang said.

“Therefore, under the protection of these conventions, the judges could not impose the death penalty. They could only hand down a life sentence,” Huang said.

The ruling said the defendant had personality disorders and encountered problems as a young person.

In the aftermath of the crime, he showed no remorse or empathy, the ruling said, adding that there would be a high risk that he would reoffend if he were to return to society.

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