The High Court yesterday upheld a life sentence for a man convicted of killing a three-year-old girl, known as “Little Light Bulb” (小燈泡), in a gruesome knife attack in Taipei in 2016.
In the retrial, doctors for the prosecution said that Wang Ching-yu (王景玉), although diagnosed with schizophrenia, was cognitively normal during the attack and capable of controling himself, High Court spokeswoman Wang Ping-hsia (王屏夏) said.
The High Court saw no reason to reduce the life sentence imposed by the lower court, the spokeswoman said, citing Article 19 of the Criminal Code, which lists mental illness as possible grounds for a commuted sentence.
The court decided against imposing the death penalty, as it concluded that Wang Ching-yu’s schizophrenia could improve with proper treatment, reducing the likelihood of recidivism, she added.
Wang Ching-yu is believed to have committed the crime while having hallucinations induced by his schizophrenia, she said, citing doctors’ testimony.
Wang Ching-yu’s family was not aware of his condition and he had not received psychiatric treatment, the spokeswoman added.
The case can still be appealed.
The killing occurred on March 28, 2016, when Little Light Bulb and her mother, Claire Wang (王婉諭), were walking to an MRT station in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖).
Wang Ching-yu grabbed the child from behind and beheaded her with a cleaver.
The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office had sought the death penalty for Wang Ching-yu, but the Taipei District Court gave him a life sentence in May 2017 and the High Court upheld the ruling in July 2018.
Prosecutors appealed the case, taking it to the Supreme Court, which sent it back to the High Court in December 2018 for retrial, saying that no medical testimony had been presented in the lower court.
Claire Wang, who became a social advocate after the death of her daughter, was nominated for legislator-at-large on a New Power Party ticket in the Jan. 11 legislative elections and is to begin serving in the Legislative Yuan next month.
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