Convicted murderer gets death sentence reprieve
By Ann Yu, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Supreme Court yesterday commuted the death sentence of a convicted murderer to a life sentence, ruling that the offender showed regret for his crime.
February 6, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
Wu Chi-hao (吳啟豪) allegedly struck his father multiple times with an iron hammer in January last year after his father demanded Wu find a job.
Wu later confessed to the police, who said that he also attempted to stab his sister in the neck with a pair of scissors after murdering his father. Media reports claimed that Wu had threatened to murder the rest of the family once he was released.
The Supreme Court made the judgment without citing precedents, a rarity in Taiwan.
Wu was sentenced to death in his first trial, which was later reduced to life imprisonment in his second trial. The case was referred back to the previous court, which again handed Wu a death sentence.
According to presiding Judge Huang Yi-shin (黃壹鑫), the collegiate panel decided that since Wu had not premeditated the murder and had showed remorse, he is capable of abiding by society's moral standards after passing correctional education courses.
The panel said that the judgment was in-line with the decrees and standards of human rights associations. According to the Supreme Court's verdict, Wu will be sentenced to life imprisonment and be deprived of his civil rights for life.
The panel said that the judgment is more suitable for Wu, considering that Wu, who was 20 when he committed the crime, is young and has a low IQ.
They added that Wu showed civility when interacting with prison officials and his family during the trial, which proves that he is able to abide by societal norms.
Huang explained that Wu's actions did not merit the severity of a death sentence as stated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. According to some human rights activists, a death penalty can be given only when an individual has no chance of becoming a moral person, even after ethical education.
Huang ruled that Wu is not deserving of the death penalty punishment, and so converted the judgment to life imprisonment.
After Wu's death sentence was reduced to a life term, which means he may be eligible for release in the future, media reports said that his sister expressed fear of meeting her brother again.