Girl's killer gives new evidence
Updated: 2013-11-20 01:25
By By CAO YIN (China Daily)
Han Lei, 39, who was sentenced to death in September for throwing and killing a 2-year-old girl, appears in his second trial on Tuesday in the Beijing Municipal Higher People's Court. The case will be decided at a later date. [Gong Lei / Xinhua]
A man who was sentenced to death for killing a 2-year-old girl appeared in court in Beijing on Tuesday to present fresh evidence in support of his claim that he did not mean to harm the child.
Beijing No 1 Intermediate People's Court sentenced Han Lei to death on Sept 25, after it found him guilty of killing the child in July during an argument with her mother over a car parking space.
The court also sentenced Han's friend, Li Ming, to five years for harboring the criminal. Li drove a white Hyundai car in which Han escaped from the scene.
On July 23, just before 9 pm, the two men drove to a bus station near Keji Road in the Daxing district. Video surveillance footage provided by prosecutors showed Han having a dispute with a woman who had a stroller. He then picked up the child from inside the stroller and threw her to the ground. Two days later, the child died in a hospital from serious head injuries.
During his first trial, Han, 39, insisted that he had been drinking heavily and had thought the stroller was a handcart. He said that he had not intended to harm the child.
He appealed to the Beijing High People's Court on the day of his sentencing and later changed his lawyer.
At 9:35 am on Tuesday, Han and Li, wearing gray uniforms with orange stripes, were taken to the high court. Han smiled to his friends sitting in the public gallery.
In the courtroom, Han reaffirmed that the girl's death was the result of the dispute between him and the girl's mother.
But he said he did not know that he had thrown a child from the stroller until later, when he was informed by his friends.
"It all happened in a brief moment. I just wanted to vent my anger by throwing something," he said. "And my glasses were dirty when I fought with the woman, so I could not see clearly what was in the stroller."
Xu Ping, Han's lawyer from Dacheng Law Offices, provided new evidence during the trial, saying the child's death was the result of negligence on Han's part, not a deliberate intention to kill her.
"The handcart Han described in the first instance, in fact, was not the usual cart one uses for shopping. What he meant was a kind of baby carriage that is sometimes used for moving food from the shops to home," Xu said, showing more than 30 pictures and several videos taken around the scene to prove his point.
In the evidence, some residents said they preferred to put vegetables and fruit in baby carriages, or strollers. They said they were "reusing" them for a different purpose after their children had grown up.
"It's a fact now that strollers are not only used for carrying children," he said. "My client assumed that the stroller containing the girl in the case was being used to move produce, which seems reasonable.
"It was a tragedy, and I was also very sad that Han killed the girl on impulse. But this also tells us that we should not end Han's life in haste," he added.
However, Yue Xueqing, prosecutor at the Beijing People's Procuratorate, said that two witnesses said they heard Han murmur something involving the word "child" as he made the hurling movement, "which could prove that Han was aware of what he was picking up".
Bai Liping, another prosecutor, said the criminal's behavior in rushing toward the stroller also showed that he clearly knew what he was going to do the next.
In Han's final statement, he said he never said anything involving the word "child", requesting that the court subject him and the two witnesses to a lie-detector test.
He also expressed his sorrow at having caused the child's death, but said the child's parents were absent during trials. As he made his apology, a male friend of the girl's parents shouted insults at Han from the public gallery.
As Han was removed from the courtroom, he said he would make great efforts to compensate the victim's family.
A friend of Han, identified only as Zhang, was present at the court hearings and told China Daily that the girl's parents ignored the defendant's offers of compensation and rejected apologies from Han's family.
The high court did not announce a ruling on Tuesday.