women have died and five have been injured by this cruel robber's
hammers. He was sentenced to death on Wednesday
Chaofu walked into the courtroom to provide his testimony, the 47-year-old
man refused to take his eyes off the man who has been accused of beating
his wife to death with a hammer.
"I last saw
my wife around 10:00am before she left our home on July 11 last year,"
body was discovered near her home early the next day; her money, mobile
phone, and jewellery, worth a total of 7,400 yuan ($895), were missing.
defendant, a 22-year-old man named Chen Zhaofeng, was charged with
attacking seven women including Cai between June 2001 and January 2002,
in Putuo, Jing'an and Xuhui districts. The serial attacks resulted in
two deaths and five cases of brain damage.
"I had long
been unemployed and the pressure pushed me into a corner," Chen said on
the first hearing at Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court on May
born in Mudanjiang, a city in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.
His father, a Shanghai native, had gone to the northern province as an
educated youth during the "cultural revolution" (1966-76). There, the
man married a local woman who gave birth to Chen, the only child of the
returned to the city in 1995 when the boy was 15 years old. Yet, due to
the great economic disparity between Mudanjiang and Shanghai, the family
led a miserably poor life.
family's monthly income totalled around 300 yuan ($36.3) at that time,
and the mother had long been suffering a poor health condition," said
Wang Qian'en, a lawyer for Chen. "Still a child, Chen dropped out of
school in 1995, and did not finish junior middle school."
the family, Chen did odd jobs. One of his occupations was to steal cats
at night, then sell them to cat dealers for profit.
In 1999, the
young man was taken into custody for 10 days by police for stealing.
I wanted to find a stable job, but it was hopeless because of my poor
education," Chen said.
depressed and destitute young man resorted to drinking as an outlet, and
on the night of June 2, 2001, for the first time, attacked a 32-year-old
woman in Putuo District with an empty beer bottle. After the victim
collapsed, Chen grabbed her mobile phone and ring, which totalled 700
found that bottles easily broke, and did not always render the victim
unconscious," he said. "I began to use hammers and had bought three in
Chen's second victim, but first death. Chen admitted that he hit the
woman three times with his hammer in a neighbourhood in Jing'an District.
About two weeks later, Chen attacked the third woman with a hammer in
Xuhui District and stole her gold necklace.
He did not
follow or attack any women until the following November, when he
committed the next four assaults in Putuo District.
On the night
of January 11, Chen assaulted 22-year-old Meng Weiping, delivering three
blows to her head. She was found dead in a flower terrace on the morning
of January 12.
Chen only found 150 yuan ($18.1), some books, a bag and some clothes in
the victim's possession. So an hour later, he seriously injured another
woman and stole her belongings valued at 4,100 yuan ($496).
spree ended that night. He was questioned by police 10 days later, and
was taken into detention on January 23.
from the seven attacks, Chen netted items valued at 13,000 yuan
sold my loot or gave it to my friends," he said.
procurators insisted on giving Chen the death penalty because of his
applied to judges for a lighter punishment, demonstrating his remorse.
"I know what
I did was disgusting, and brought irretrievable damage to the victims
and their families," Chen said. "I dare not to hope for forgiveness from
them, but I sincerely apologize to them."
lawyer, also said that Chen's behaviour was mainly attributed to his
have finished his schooling and had a relatively good future if not for
his poor family," Wang said. "This makes him different from other
for more help to assist these families in educating their children.
these people who have returned to the city are poor, society should help
them care for their children," he added.
procurators asked the court to impose the strongest penalty on Chen.
behaviour has become a threat to the society and brought panic to
ordinary people," said Zeng Mian, a prosecutor. "His cruelty showed no
sympathy, which makes him no different from other gangsters."
robbery is the most serious offence to others' property, and authorities
have long insisted on severely cracking down on such crimes.
May 22, Chen was sentenced to death by the Shanghai No.2 Intermediate
People's Court, after 16 working days.