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Hebei man sentenced to death for rapes and murders

By CAO YIN and Ma Chi | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-11-24 11:18

Wang Shujin, a man from Hebei province, was sentenced to death for intentional homicide by the Handan Intermediate People's Court in Hebei on Tuesday after a retrial.

Wang, 53, was also sentenced to 15 years in prison for rape, the court said, adding that it had decided to combine his sentences in the death penalty.

The court approved Wang's convictions for four rapes, three killings and an attempted killing from 1993 to 1995, it said in a statement released on its social media account.

"Wang, who turned himself in, shouldn't be leniently punished, because his criminal intent was despicable and his behaviors brought greatly negative effects and damage to society," the court said, adding Wang also needed to pay civil compensation to the surviving victim and the other victims' families.

On Nov 9, the Supreme People's Court, China's top court, sent Wang's case back to the Handan court for retrial due to newly emerged evidence.

Wang was detained in 2005 and voluntarily confessed to several killings and rapes. Prosecutors in Hebei later charged him with three rapes, two killings and an attempted killing.

He said he also raped and killed another woman, surnamed Zhang, but that confession was not supported by prosecutors at the time.

In 2007, the Handan court sentenced Wang to death for rape and intentional killing, and the convictions were upheld by the Hebei High People's Court in 2013 when it rejected an appeal by Wang.

The Supreme People's Court said all the facts confirmed and evidence presented in the cases of the three rapes, two killings and attempted killing were clear and reliable, the sentencing was proper and the trial procedures were lawful. But it discovered there was new evidence that needed to be considered in the case involving Zhang.

On Nov 20, when the Handan court retried Wang's case, it said the new evidence was the result of a DNA test on a skeleton found by police following directions given by Wang that proved it was Zhang's.

Among the cases he confessed to, Wang said he raped and killed a woman surnamed Kang in a cornfield in Shijiazhuang, Hebei's provincial capital, in August 1994. The confession draw public attention as another man, Nie Shubin, had already been sentenced to death and executed for raping and killing Kang in 1995.

Wang's confession triggered a review and reinvestigation of Nie's case. In December 2016, the top court pronounced Nie "not guilty" due to insufficient evidence.

In the past decade, Wang insisted he had raped and killed Kang, but the prosecutors did not support his claim.

During the retrial on Nov 20, Wang still insisted he had raped and killed Kang, but the prosecutors still rejected those claims, saying testimony by Wang differed from the physical evidence in the case.

Zhu Aimin, Wang's lawyer, told ThePaper, a Shanghai-based online news outlet, after Tuesday's sentencing announcement that his client will appeal to a higher court.

Under the Criminal Procedure Law, all death penalties given by courts nationwide must be submitted to the Supreme People's Court for review before they are carried out.

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