A woman who was sentenced to life in jail after being found guilty of murdering her ex-boyfriend was acquitted by the Taiwan High Court’s Taichung Branch on Monday because of insufficient evidence.
Yang Shu-ling (楊淑玲) was given a life sentence in her initial trial. The verdict was based on neighborhood surveillance videos that verified her presence near the crime scene at the time of the 2007 murder and a threatening letter she had written was found at the scene.
The victim, Chen Chien-lung (陳建隆), died of 24 stab wounds and his body was found in the staff dormitory of state-run oil refiner CPC Corp, Taiwan, in Miaoli City in December 2007.
However, the verdict was overturned in a second trial after DNA tests revealed that three drops of blood left at the crime scene did not belong to Yang.
The presiding judge said the evidence did not directly link Yang to the murder and that the three drops of blood collected from a wash-basin at the crime scene matched the DNA left by a burglary suspect in Gongguan Township (公館), Miaoli County, in April 2009.
The judge also dismissed results from a polygraph test and chose not to exclude the possibility that Chen’s death was related to a burglary, since the back door to the dormitory building had been left opened, drawers in Chen’s guest room opened, the victim’s cellphone missing and his wallet emptied.
Chen had broken up with Yang a month prior to his murder and she was reportedly enraged to learn that Chen had met another woman, surnamed Hsu (許).
Chen also received several calls from a woman who threatened to make him “die at the hands of a woman’s knife.”
Intimidated by the death threats, Chen informed Hsu, whom he was dating, about his unpleasant breakup with Yang, saying that Yang had almost smothered him with a pillow. Chen’s body was found by Hsu a few days later.
After examining surveillance video at the dormitory, police spotted Yang lurking near the crime scene at the time of the murder.
During a police interrogation, Yang denied murdering her ex-boyfriend, saying that she happened to be present near the crime scene because she had dreamed about Chen being killed and had decided to visit him. She denied entering Chen’s dormitory.
However, a threatening letter that read: “I shall soon have my revenge on you ... after three days of my spell, you shall feel the pains you had brought me in the past. This is my revenge to you,” led prosecutors to file charges against Yang.
In the first trial, the judge used evidence collected at the scene, as well as the results of the polygraph, to sentence Yang to life in prison.
Translated by Stacy Hsu, Staff writer