Stab­bing-spree vic­tims plead for death penalty for mur­derer

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY SUN HSIN- HSUAN

As de­bate over whether to pre­serve or abol­ish the death penalty heats up, vic­tims of a 2014 knife at­tack were seen at the Taipei High Court ( ) yesterday, beg­ging the judge to sen­tence Cheng Chieh ( ) to death.

In May 2014, Cheng bought a 30-cen­time­ter-long knife and ran­domly slashed pas­sen­gers on the Taipei Metro as the train drove from Long­shan Tem­ple Sta­tion to Jiangz­icui Sta­tion. He took four lives and in­jured 22 oth­ers, shock­ing so­ci­ety with his cru­elty dur­ing and af­ter the killings.

The public were not only ter­ri­fied, but also en­raged. While many in­sisted that Cheng should “get what he de­serves as soon as pos­si­ble,” the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple be­gan to dis­cuss what had caused a col­lege stu­dent to com­mit such a heinous crime.

His par­ents, class­mates and teach­ers all had fin­gers pointed at them to take blame for Cheng’s pos­si­ble men­tal ill­ness. A con­sen­sus was never reached, how­ever, the public be­come ex­tremely at­ten­tive to the de­bate over cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment.

On March 6 of this year, the New Taipei City Dis­trict Court ( ) handed Cheng four death sen­tences af­ter he was found guilty of four counts of mur­der; Cheng was fur­ther con­victed of 22 counts of at­tempted mur­der for which he was sen­tenced to a to­tal of 144 years im­pris­on­ment.

“The dis­trict court badly wants me dead so I don’t care at all what they say. I just want them to get the ver­dict done as soon as pos­si­ble so that we can take this case to the high court,” Cheng re­port­edly said just be­fore the court an­nounced its fi­nal judg­ment.

Sur­vivor Begs for Death

When the Taipei High Court re­opened the case yesterday, a sur­vivor of the at­tack, a woman known by the English name Seve­lyn, ar­rived at the scene, de­mand­ing in tears that Cheng be sen­tenced to death.

The woman said that she lost one of her breasts af­ter Cheng stabbed her three times. More­over, she added that she “can no longer sleep with­out tak­ing sleep­ing pills and since then and I still shiver when fac­ing a crowd.” She asked the judge to sen­tence her to death if not Cheng.

The mother of one of the vic­tims also went to the court, say­ing that “it’s not fair my child is mur­dered and the mur­derer stays alive.”

De­fense Lawyer Puts Blame on

Men­tal Ill­ness

Ac­cord­ing to pros­e­cu­tors, Cheng barely spoke a word at court. His lawyer ar­gued that Cheng was only 21 years old when he com­mit­ted the crime, had lit­tle ex­pe­ri­ence of so­ci­ety and that it was his child­hood trau­mas that led him to com­mit such a crime.

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