Tue, Jun 10, 2008 - Page 2 News List

High Court upholds trio's sentences after double murder

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A man yesterday received two death sentences and his two accomplices were sentenced to life in jail for the murder of two people in Tainan County last year.

The Taiwan High Court’s Tainan branch handed down two death sentences to Ko Shih-ming (柯世銘) for the murders of Chen Ching-chung (陳進忠) and Ko Yu-mei (柯玉梅). His accomplices Chiang Wu-che (江武哲) and Chen Chun-chieh (陳俊傑) received life sentences.

The ruling upheld sentences handed down in December last year by the Tainan District Court.

The High Court said in its ruling that the severity of the sentences was a result of the callousness with which the crimes had been committed.

The trio may appeal to the Supreme Court, the ruling said.

The bodies of farmer Ko Yu-mei, a resident of Nanhua Township (南化) in Tainan County, and Chen Ching-chung were found near Ko Yu-mei’s fruit farm on Sept. 15 last year.

Ko Yu-mei’s husband, surnamed Wang, told police that he and his wife were working on their farm on Sept. 13 when they saw a strange van parked on their property some distance away. His wife took her scooter to see what the visitors wanted. She never came back.

Police discovered that Chiang owned a field of sky fruit in Tainan County, and that Chen Ching-chung had expressed an interest in buying the trees.

Police said Chiang brought Chen Ching-chung, Ko Shih-ming and Chen Chun-chieh to the field on Sept. 13 to examine the trees with a view to a possible sale. But when Chen Ching-chung said that the crop of sky fruit was worth less than NT$6 million (US$198,000), Chiang became enraged.

The four left together in a van. Chen Ching-chung, sitting in the back seat, was strangled with a leather belt by the other three, the court said in its ruling.

They drove the van to Ko Yu-mei’s farm, where they planned to dump the body. When she went to investigate, she discovered them preparing to throw Chen Ching-chung’s body into a pond. The three men grabbed Ko Yu-mei and strangled her, before throwing both victims into the water.

An autopsy found that, although Ko Yu-mei and Chen Ching-chung had been strangled, they both died from drowning.

The three were arrested on Oct. 1 last year.

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