Fri, Jun 04, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Defendant in cannibal case hedges on guilt, says sorry

APOLOGIES The owner of a Taichung motorcycle shop says he is sorry for the rape and murder of an insurance agent, but insists it was his assistant who did the killing

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

During a proceeding yesterday at Taichung District Court, accused murderer and cannibal Chen Chin-huo (陳金火) admitted to participating in the killing of an insurance agent -- and, for the first time, apologized to the victim's family.

"I'll be executed anyway when the time comes, so I might as well admit to what I did," Taichung District Court spokesman Tang Kwang-yi (唐光義) quoted Chen as saying.

"Today was the first time he has admitted to crimes in court and the first time he has said he is sorry," Tang said.

"He asked the judges to deliver a message to the victim's family saying that he was sorry."

According to Tang, Chen insisted during the arraignment -- whose focus was Kwang Teh-chiang (廣德強), an assistant at Chen's motorcycle shop -- that Kwang had killed 28-year-old insurance agent Shih Chin-chi (施金池). Chen admitted, however, that he had participated in the killing by choking the woman.

Kwang insisted, as he has in the past, that it was Chen who killed Shih.

On Wednesday, psychiatrists from Taichung Veterans Hospital delivered the results of a psychiatric analysis of Chen and Kwang that the court had requested. The report stated that the two men are not insane -- meaning that judges can send them to death row if they are convicted.

"Chen clearly knew what he was doing," said Cho Liang-chen (卓良珍), a psychiatrist at the hospital.

"We would call him a sick person, not an insane one," Cho said.

Chen and Kwang allegedly raped and killed Shih on Dec. 7 last year when she went to Chen's motorcycle shop on business.

Also on Wednesday, forensic scientists delivered an analysis of body parts that the police discovered in the septic tank at Chen's residence. The scientists concluded that the body parts were Shih's.

The body parts were discovered on April 21 when Taichung judges Hsu Hsu-sheng (許旭聖) and Lee Chiu-chuan (李秋娟) accompanied a team of police officers to Chen's residence to dig up his septic tank, acting on statements by Chen that Shih's body could be found there.

They discovered a number of body parts -- though they determined that some parts of the body were missing. They also found Shih's identification cards, her underwear, her pants, her purse and a razor that Chen and Kwang allegedly used to cut up her body.

During previous conversations with psychiatrists, Chen has allegedly said that he ate parts of Shih's body -- but he has also denied doing so. He has also allegedly told psychiatrists that he had previously eaten human flesh.

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