Thu, Apr 25, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Prosecutors’ office appeals not-guilty murder verdict

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office yesterday appealed a not-guilty verdict handed down by the Taiwan High Court, which ruled Hsu Jung-chou (許榮洲) was not responsible for the rape and murder of a five-year-old girl in 1996 that had led to the wrongful execution of airman Chiang Kuo-ching (江國慶) and ordered Hsu’s release.

The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office’s Special Investigation Division yesterday announced that it would appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

Hsu was charged by the division with murder in May 2011 and in December that year was sentenced to 18 years in jail by the Taipei District Court. The High Court acquitted Hsu on April 2.

The division said Hsu had left a bloody palm print at the scene of the crime, which was strong evidence he was responsible for the murder.

The High Court had said that Hsu, who is mentally challenged, confessed to the crime on seven occasions, but all the confessions were contradicted by autopsy findings.

The division said most of the confessions were made of Hsu’s own free will. He detailed the process of the crime in different confessions and they were not contradicted by autopsy findings.

Hsu’s IQ, which was said to be between that of a nine-year-old and a 12-year-old by the High Court, did not affect his memory or his ability to express himself, the division said.

In the first trial, the Taipei District Court ruled that on Sept. 12, 1996, Hsu, who was an airman assigned to the Air Force Command, saw a girl, surnamed Hsieh (謝), watching TV alone in a restaurant at the base. It said he led the girl to a washroom and then took off her clothes, before brutally assaulting her and smothering her while trying to stifle her cries.

The case sparked controversy because the investigation determined that Chiang, who was also serving at Air Force Command at the time of the incident and was convicted of the crime after a month-long military investigation and executed the following year, was innocent.

Chiang was 21 years old when he was executed.

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