The Supreme Court yesterday handed down a final verdict that 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 Chiang Kuo-ching (江國慶).
The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office in April last year appealed Hsu’s not-guilty verdict handed down by the Taiwan High Court.
The Supreme Court yesterday maintained the not-guilty verdict. The ruling is final.
Hsu was charged by the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office with murder in May 2011 and in December 2012 was sentenced to 18 years in jail by the Taipei District Court.
The Supreme Court said that Hsu, who is mentally challenged, confessed to the crime on seven separate occasions, but all the confessions were contradicted by autopsy findings.
Hsu’s indictment document dated Sept. 12, 1996, said 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 Supreme Court said Hsu left a palm print in the washroom, which only indicated that he had used the washroom, but could not show that he murdered the girl.
The Supreme Court said that the Criminal Investigation Bureau at that time did not examine whether a bloodstain was left on the palm print.
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.