Student's death penalty to stand
Updated: 2011-05-21 08:24
By Ma Lie (China Daily)
XI'AN - A court in Northwest China's Shaanxi province on Friday rejected a death sentence appeal filed by a music student who stabbed a cafe waitress to death to cover up a hit-and-run accident.
The Shaanxi Provincial Higher People's Court announced its decision to uphold the death sentence on Yao Jiaxin after a brief adjournment of Friday morning's hearing.
Members of Zhang Miao's family light firecrackers at the gate of Shaanxi Provincial Higher People's Court on Friday after the court upheld the death sentence on Yao Jiaxin. Yao stabbed Zhang to death after the car he was driving ran into her last year. Yao was sentenced to death in the first court trial in April. [Photo from hsw.cn]
Yao, 21, a junior student at the Xi'an Conservatory of Music, was driving a Chevrolet Cruze when he ran into Zhang Miao while she was riding a bicycle home at 10:30 pm on Oct 20, 2010. Fearing that Zhang would remember his license plate number and report him to the police, Yao stabbed her to death with a knife, according to the Intermediate People's Court of Xi'an.
After the stabbing, Yao drove away from the scene and, in his hurry, injured two passersby about 1 km from the murder scene.
On Oct 23, Yao, in the company of his parents, gave himself in to the police and confessed to the killing, according to the Xi'an court's first trial judgment.
The court held that Yao's behavior was intentional homicide and sentenced him to death with a lifelong revocation of his political rights and a compensation of 45,498.5 yuan ($7,000) to Zhang's family.
Yao decided to appeal against this judgment on May 2, the last day of the statutory appeal period.
The case aroused a public outcry over increasing incidents of reckless behavior by the country's wealthy younger generation.
"Yao stabbed the victim's chest, stomach and back several times until she died. The motive was extremely despicable, the measures extremely cruel and the consequences extremely serious," Friday's court judgment read.
"Although Yao has no criminal record and surrendered himself to the police (four days after the incident), the court has still decided to deny him leniency."
During the trial, Yao's lawyer argued that he committed the murder "on an impulse" and pleaded for leniency, saying "being depressed in his daily life was to blame, to some extent, for the killing".
Previous media reports said Yao's parents forced him to practice piano, which resulted in him occasionally smashing the piano keys to vent his anger. Yao's lawyer claimed that he might have "mechanically" stabbed Zhang several times because of this habit.
The court rejected this claim at the first trial.
About 100 people, including journalists, classmates and relatives of Yao and Zhang, attended Friday's court hearing.
Xinhua contributed to this story.
After a deep freeze in sales during the recession, China’s air conditioner makers are bouncing back
Shanghai’s historic ALLEYS not just unique architecture but a way of life
Hong Kong-born singer songwriter rises to the top of the UK pops.
Belgian envoy draws on personal fascination to help build China ties.