Child murderer escapes death penalty

Wang Ching-yu was given a life sentence because of the insanity defense

Shilin District Court sentenced Wang Ching-yu (王景玉) to life in prison for the murder of an four-year-old girl in Neihu District. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan Shilin District Court sentenced Wang Ching-yu (王景玉) to life in prison for the gruesome murder of a four-year-old girl in Neihu District, Taipei last year.

Wang, a 33-year-old unemployed man who is not related to the victim and her family, randomly attacked the girl, nicknamed "Little Light Bulb," from behind her while she was riding on a toddler bike with her mother about one meter away on May 23, 2016. The two were on their way to a metro station.

According to the police, the murderer grabbed the child from behind and decapitated her with a kitchen knife. The girl's mother was just several steps away from the girl. The girl died on the spot.

The police said Wang has a criminal record of drug abuse. 

Citing a psychiatric assessment from Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Wang has psychosis, but was not presenting symptoms at the scene of the crime. Prosecutors sought the death penalty for Wang on May 23, 2016 because they argued he was of sound mind when he committed the murder. However, the court sided with the defense's argument that under Taiwan's law, a person suffering from a mental disability cannot be sentenced to death.

The killer got on his knees and asked for forgiveness from the victim's mother in the court on September 22, 2016.

In a brief media session right after the incident happened, the victim’s mother urged the government to create a safer environment for women to raise their children. She indicates that the society should put more emphasis on family education to solve this problem and avoid creating distorted personalities and values.

The case can still be appealed.  As of press time, the mother of Little Light Bulb has not responded to the court judgment.