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February 19, 2014

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Court sentences ex-Fudan student to death for killing his roommate

A FORMER Fudan University postgraduate student was sentenced to death yesterday for poisoning his roommate.

The Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court heard that Lin Senhao, 28, killed Huang Yang last April to avenge a grudge by putting a toxic chemical into a water dispenser they shared. Huang was 28.

Accompanied by two bailiffs, Lin was brought into court at 10:30am for a hearing that lasted around 30 minutes.

Most of the time, Lin kept his head down and he showed no emotion as he listened to the judge reviewing the case and listing the evidence against him before announcing the ruling.

The only time Lin spoke was to confirm his identity in a calm voice.

Lin was removed from the court immediately after the verdict was announced, as his father shouted out in protest.

Despite the evidence outlined in court, Lin Zunyao said he couldn’t believe his son killed Huang intentionally.

“I will appeal the death penalty for my son,” he said.

Huang’s family said they were satisfied with the sentence, which “has brought justice to be done,” his father Huang Guoqiang said.

“Now, my son can rest in peace,” he added.

He called the family in the southwestern Sichuan Province after the hearing, telling them to burn incense in front of his son’s portrait and to “tell Huang” about the sentence so as to bring him peace.

Over the past 11 months, Huang Guoqiang and his wife Yang Guohua have traveled to Shanghai six times, seeking justice for their son. They said all they wanted was for the murderer to receive punishment as soon as possible.

Of Lin, Huang’s father said: “There has not been a single moment when I thought I would forgive him.”

Last November, Lin’s father sent two messages to Huang’s father, begging him to forgive his son. But Huang’s father consistently called for the death penalty, saying he wanted “a life for a life.”

The court said Huang died as a result of drinking water from a dispenser into which Lin added about 50 milliliters of N-Nitrosodimethylamine on April 1. Huang died 15 days later due to multiple organ failure.

“It was too cruel and miserable to die of poisoning,” Huang’s father said.

He said he would never forget seeing his son’s body bearing the marks of two autopsies before he was cremated on December 19.

“My last wish is hoping that Lin could tell the truth about the reason why he killed my son before he dies,” Huang’s father said.

The judge said Lin held a grudge against Huang over trivial matters and had poured excessive toxic chemical into the water dispenser.

Lin had claimed in a previous hearing that he planned only to play an April Fool’s Day prank and make his roommate sick.

At yesterday’s hearing, the court said Lin’s defense was inconsistent with his actions, as he failed to speak out as his roommate lay dying.

The judge said Lin didn’t admit the poisoning to police until he was reported by his fellow students and detained on April 12.

“I don’t believe it’s an April Fool’s joke. How could one make fun of taking another’s life by poisoning?” he said.

Huang’s father said Fudan University was also liable for his son’s death as Lin had stolen the toxic chemical from a lab at Zhongshan Hospital, affiliated to Fudan University, while working there as an intern.

“The university was unwilling to admit they had lax management of highly toxic chemicals,” he said.

He said the family is considering filing a lawsuit against the university to demand compensation.

Last June, the family declined compensation of between 20,000 yuan (US$3,296) and 50,000 yuan offered by university as a humanitarian gesture.

The court told Lin he could appeal the verdict to the Shanghai Higher People’s Court within 10 days.

The death sentence must be reviewed by the Supreme People’s Court before execution.



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