Supreme Court upholds life sentence for man over murder of ex-girlfriend

02/25/2021 09:10 PM
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Chang Yen-wen (張彥文) / CNA file photo
Chang Yen-wen (張彥文) / CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 25 (CNA) The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a life sentence against a man found guilty of stabbing his ex-girlfriend to death and sexually assaulting her as she lay dying, in a case that dates back more than six years.

The sentence cannot be appealed further, the Supreme Court said in its ruling against Chang Yen-wen (張彥文), 35, who was convicted of murder and several other felonies in the first case in the Taipei District Court in November 2016.

According to facts that emerged in the case, Chang and the 22-year-old woman met online in 2014 and began dating, but she felt that he was too clingy, and a few months later she told him they should give each other some space.

In September 2014, however, they went on a trip to Japan, but Chang was not happy with the distance she maintained between them, and he began to suspect that she was seeing someone else, the case revealed.

During that trip, Chang sexually assaulted the woman twice, and they broke up completely after they returned to Taiwan, the court heard.

On the morning of Sept. 22, Chang camped outside the woman's residence until she emerged and begged her to make up with him, according to the court. When she refused to respond, he pulled out a knife and stabbed her 47 times. As she lay dying on the street, he sexually assaulted her, according to the court evidence.

Chang, a graduate of National Taiwan University, was arrested after eyewitnesses called the police.

On Jan. 15, 2016, the Taipei District Court sentenced Chang to life imprisonment, saying that the death sentence was not warranted because he had confessed to the crime and could probably be rehabilitated through psychological therapy.

Taipei prosecutors who had sought the death sentence appealed the ruling, and on April 11, 2017, the Taiwan High Court sentenced Chang to 15 years for murder, and another six years and six months for sexual assault and desecration of a corpse, with the latter sentence not subject to appeal.

At the time, the High Court said it took into consideration Chang's remorse over his actions and his willingness to compensate the victim's family.

Prosecutors, however again appealed, and the Supreme Court sent the case back to the High Court, asking for a review of the homicide sentence.

On June 17, 2020, the High Court sentenced Chang to life imprisonment, saying he had committed a brutal murder and that monetary compensation could not heal the pain of the victim's family.

The case was then appealed again in the Supreme Court, which upheld the life sentence in the final ruling on Thursday.

(By Hsiao Po-wen and Ko Lin)

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