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Taipei Huashan killer escapes death sentence in second trial

Family members of victim surnamed Kao (高) vow to appeal for reinstatement of death sentence

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Chen Po-chien 

Chen Po-chien  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The man who nearly two years ago, murdered and dismembered a female member of an archery class he organized and taught on the lawn of Taipei's Huashan 1914 Creative Park, escaped the death sentence in his second trial on Tuesday (April 7), as Taiwan's High Court considered his confession a basis for leniency.

Family members of the victim, surnamed Kao (高), were furious upon hearing the sentence, which they said did not meet the expectations of the public, and they said they would appeal, TVBS News reported.

Defendant Chen Po-chien (陳伯謙) was indicted in August 2018 on charges of sexual assault and murder in addition to abandonment and destruction of a corpse.

According to prosecutors, Kao signed up for Chen’s archery class, and on May 31, 2018 they consumed alcohol together. Chen admitted that he tried to rape Kao while she was sleeping, and he explained that her resistance upon waking stirred him to further violence.

Chen strangled Kao, dismembered her body, and scattered it around a remote part of Yangmingshan National Park. He then spent all of the money he found in Kao's purse, according to the indictment.

The defendant admitted to murder and other crimes during the investigation but denied having raped Kao. However, during the trial, Chen recanted his confession and claimed that Kao was killed by a Taiwanese man named "Eric," insisting he only helped dismember and dispose of the body.

The implausible story was dismissed by the court, and Chen was convicted on multiple counts and sentenced to death within a year of his indictment.

During the sentencing at the second trial, High Court judge Lien Yu-chun (連育群) said that the behavior of the accused justifies the death sentence but that his confession can be considered a mitigating factor.

The victim’s father has expressed his disappointment that the state will not put Chen to death.