Father, girlfriend who killed his two children get verdict in second trial
A father in Chongqing who killed his two children by tossing them out of a high-rise apartment window in 2020 was sentenced to death along with his girlfriend, who had prompted him to commit the act, after their second trial on Thursday morning.
The Chongqing High People's Court upheld the original ruling and said that the sentences handed down to Zhang Bo and his girlfriend, Ye Chengchen, were appropriate. Its ruling will be submitted to the Supreme People's Court, the nation's top court, for approval.
In China, any death sentence handed down by a lower court is submitted to the Supreme People's Court for further review. Executions are only allowed if the top court approves.
As the case has drawn intense public attention in China, dozens of residents and reporters gathered in front of the courthouse to wait for the verdict from the trial, which began in early April.
After hearing the ruling, Chen Meilin, the mother of the slain children, carried a bouquet of white lilies with her to a local temple where her two children's ashes were being kept. Clad in black, she shared the news with her loved ones.
"Today, I read the verdict to my kids and asked them to wait for the final result of the death sentence review," she told the media outside of the temple.
"Mom will make sure justice is served."
In the first trial, held in 2021, the Chongqing No 5 Intermediate People's Court found that Zhang and Ye conspired to kill his daughter and younger son by staging an accidental fall from the 15th floor of his apartment building on Nov 2, 2020.
The court found that the children had in fact been thrown simultaneously and that the act amounted to intentional homicide.
It also concluded that Ye had repeatedly told Zhang that she and her parents could not accept the fact that Zhang already had children, and she urged Zhang to kill them, making her equally culpable.
The court held that their motive was despicable and the means brutal, and it had an "extremely" negative impact on society.
It sentenced Zhang and Ye to death in December 2021, and both appealed the ruling.
The second trial began on April 6 at the Chongqing High People's Court. The court on Thursday agreed that the actions of Zhang and Ye constituted the crime of intentional homicide. Zhang directly carried out the murder, while Ye coerced him, it said.
"The status and role of the two in the crime are the same, so both of them are the main culprits," the verdict states.
"Zhang and Ye disregarded the laws of the country, the principles of nature and humanity, seriously challenged the bottom line of law and ethics, and trampled on social conscience. Their motive for committing the crime was extremely despicable, their means extremely cruel, the circumstances particularly vicious, the consequences extremely serious, their subjective viciousness extremely deep and their social impact extremely severe."
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