Prosecutors probing a murder after a woman's body was found in a garbage bag in Kaohsiung's Yencheng District (鹽埕) on Saturday evening released US citizen David Michael Fillion without bail yesterday morning while his Filipina girlfriend, Armia Panaglima, was ordered detained by Kaohsiung judges on suspicion of murder.
Fillion was summoned by prosecutors for further questioning yesterday afternoon. Questioning was ongoing at press time.
Kaohsiung District Prosecutors' Office spokesman Chung Chung-hsiao (鍾忠孝) told reporters that after several hours of questioning, Panaglima told prosecutors early yesterday morning that she had killed 48-year-old Chiu Mei-yun (邱美雲) on her own and dumped her body in a garbage bag.
She allegedly said Fillion was unaware of the crime.
Chung said investigators yesterday morning took Panaglima back to the alleged site of the murder, the residence in the city's Tsoying District (左營) where she had lived with Fillion, to re-enact how she carried out the killing. Panaglima's recollection matched the post mortem examination results, Chung said.
"Her simulation proved that she could have committed the killing and how she could have been able to do it alone," Chung said.
He said Panaglima told investigators that Fillion was drunk on Wednesday night last week and that he did not know about the confrontation between her and Chou that led to the murder.
Chung said Fillion offered evidence to show he was somewhere else at the time of the murder.
"Prosecutors released Fillion without bail because they have insufficient evidence to prove he was involved," Chung said.
But Chung said Fillion is barred from leaving the country.
He said Panaglima told police she met Chou at the residence last Wednesday. She allegedly wanted her to lend her some money but she refused.
Chung said Panaglima told investigators how she became angry after Chou hit her on the cheek and attacked her with a kitchen knife.
Chou, a broker who helped foreigners find teaching jobs at private schools, left her home last Wednesday afternoon, the last time she was seen alive.
Police said footage from a surveillance camera near the place where the body was found showed a woman riding a scooter towing a big black garbage bag at approximately 11pm on Friday.
Police on Monday traced the scooter to its owner, a Japanese teacher who told police that she had lent the scooter to Fillion on Friday and that he had not returned it.
Investigators said they found traces of blood in Fillion's apartment.
A DNA test showed that the blood matched that of the deceased, police said.
Meanwhile, Kaohsiung City Councilor Chen Mei-chuan (
"They [Fillion and Panaglima] live under the same roof. How could he know nothing? I don't buy it," Chen said at a press conference.
Chen said that given the fatal stab wound on Chou's chest was 13cm deep and the way the body was folded inside the garbage bag, Panaglima must have had a "tall and strong male accomplice."
"They [Chou's family] said they absolutely cannot accept this [Fillion's release]," she said.
The victim's husband also protested at Yencheng Precinct yesterday afternoon.
"Judging from her [Chou's] size, I don't believe a woman could have committed the crime alone," said Chou's husband, surnamed Yao (姚). "There was obviously a struggle."
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