TAIWAN: HIGH COURT OVERTURNS DEATH SENTENCE FOR HUASHAN GRASSLAND KILLER
April 7, 2020:
The Taiwan High Court on 7 April 2020 overturned the death penalty for a man convicted of raping, killing and dismembering a woman in the Huashan Grassland in Taipei in 2018, and instead sentenced him to life in prison. (Sources: Taiwan News, CNA, 07/04/2020)
In its ruling, the High Court said it had reduced the lower court's sentence in view of the fact that Chen Po-chien, a 39-year-old archery instructor, had turned himself into police after he was listed as suspect in the murder.
Family members of the victim, surnamed Kao, were furious upon hearing the sentence, which they said did not meet the expectations of the public, and they said they would appeal, TVBS News reported.
Defendant Chen Po-chien was indicted in August 2018 on charges of sexual assault and murder in addition to abandonment and destruction of a corpse.
According to prosecutors, Kao signed up for Chen’s archery class, and on 31 May 2018 they consumed alcohol together. Chen admitted that he tried to rape Kao while she was sleeping, and he explained that her resistance upon waking stirred him to further violence.
Chen strangled Kao, dismembered her body, and scattered it around a remote part of Yangmingshan National Park. He then spent all of the money he found in Kao's purse, according to the indictment.
The defendant admitted to murder and other crimes during the investigation but denied having raped Kao. However, during the trial, Chen recanted his confession and claimed that Kao was killed by a Taiwanese man named "Eric," insisting he only helped dismember and dispose of the body.
The implausible story was dismissed by the court, and Chen was convicted on multiple counts and sentenced to death on 5 August 2019.
During the sentencing at the second trial, High Court judge Lien Yu-chun said that the behavior of the accused justifies the death sentence but that his confession can be considered a mitigating factor.