Death penalty for double homicide

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Oct 30, 2013 - Page 1

A woman indicted as the main suspect in a double homicide in New Taipei City (新北市) earlier this year was yesterday sentenced to death by the Shilin District Court.

The court said Hsieh Yi-han (謝依涵), who was charged with robbery leading to homicide, had planned to rob the victims, but ended up killing them after she failed to achieve her initial goal.

The bodies of Shih Chien University assistant professor Chang Tsui-ping (張翠萍), 58, and her husband, Chen Chin-fu (陳進福), 79, were discovered among mangrove trees and sand banks of the Tamsui River (淡水河) in February in New Taipei City’s Bali District (八里). The bodies were found in separate locations.

The court said that Hsieh, who was managing the Mama Mouth Cafe (媽媽嘴) coffee shop at the time of the murders, got to know Chen as a customer at the cafe.

Chen had reportedly been very fond of Hsieh and visited the cafe daily to give her money, jewelry and other gifts, eventually making her his stepdaughter.

The court concluded that Hsieh’s motive for the murder was to obtain Chang’s jewelry collection — estimated to be worth NT$40 million (US$1.3 million) — because she was strapped for cash.

After failing to obtain the jewelry, Hsieh plied the couple with drinks before taking them to the riverside, where she stabbed them to death, the court said.

Hsieh tried to alter her appearance to impersonate Chang and withdraw money from her bank account, the court said.

During the trial, Hsieh accused Chen of raping her in his home, adding that she could detail characteristic features of Chen’s body, including his penis.

However, the court said the details Hsieh provided are normal characteristics in elderly males’ phenotype, adding that no trace of Hsieh’s DNA was found in Chen’s home.

Hsieh can appeal the death sentence with the Taiwan High Court.