Life sentence upheld for Nangang rapist

‘UNINTENTIONAL MURDER’::Almost 30 years after a girl’s rape and murder, the Supreme Court rejected the perpetrator’s last appeal, but said the killing was not premeditated

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Nov 11, 2017 - Page 4

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a guilty verdict against a man who spent 21 years on the run for the rape and murder of a girl, sentencing him to life imprisonment with deprivation of his civil rights for life.

Tsai Jung-shu (蔡榮樹), now 55, committed the crime at a school in Taipei’s Nangang District (南港) in 1990, but was not arrested until 2011, when his DNA was found to match the evidence.

He was found guilty in an earlier verdict, but the Supreme Court sent it back to the Taiwan High Court for two retrials. Tsai was found guilty in both retrials and twice appealed the decision.

Yesterday’s verdict was final and cannot be appealed.

The court ruling statement said the investigation indicated Tsai likely did not intend to kill the schoolgirl.

“However, during the rape, the victim let out cries of pain and he was afraid someone might hear her. He then covered the victim’s nose and mouth with his hands, suffocating her to death,” the court said.

“As such, it was not an act of intentional killing. As it was a situation different from premeditated murder, the accused is sentenced to life in prison,” the statement said.

Police were called to the scene when the body of a 13-year-old girl was discovered inside Cheng-De Elementary School in Taipei’s Nangang District (南港) in May 1990.

Forensic tests showed that the girl had been raped and died from suffocation, and investigators were able to collect semen samples from the girl’s body.

Taiwan had not yet built up a database of DNA samples from convicted criminals at the time, so the case remained unsolved, as police had no leads on possible suspects.

It was only two decades later, when Kaohsiung police detained and questioned then-50-year-old Tsai in connection with a sexual assault case, that a sample of his DNA was collected and sent to the Criminal Investigation Bureau, which found that it matched DNA evidence from the Nangang school rape and murder case.

During questioning, Tsai admitted that he had gone to the school in Nangang with his elder brother.

They found the girl walking alone and decided to take her to the fifth floor of the school building, investigators said.

They grabbed the girl and wrapped her face and wrists in tape. Tsai raped her and the girl died of suffocation, he said.