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Man admits gruesome 1992 killing

A MAN went on trial yesterday, 17 years after he killed his mistress and dismembered her body.

Prosecutors say Chen He, a 57-year-old local native, killed Chen Fengzhen on July 22, 1992. He dismembered her body and in the middle of the night, put the body parts into two plastic bags and threw them into a hole that had been dug for gas pipes, covering them with earth.

Chen He, who was arrested 16 years after the killing, appeared calm during the hearing at the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court.

He admitted he killed his mistress and dismembered her body. But he argued he hadn't intended to kill her. He said his brain was completely blank when he did all these things.

The court didn't announce the verdict after the hearing.

Chen He, who had once served a six-year sentence for theft, said he had known Chen Fengzhen since they were young and their relationship became intimate after he was freed from prison in 1991. "She always comforted me after I was released at first and later she began to seduce me," he told the court.

He agreed to an affair with her as long as their families weren't affected, he said.

On July 22, 1992, Chen Fengzhen told him her husband was also having an affair and she wanted to get divorced and to marry him.

"I refused, because she was breaking the promise not to involve our families," Chen He said.

"It was just for fun. I didn't want it to affect my family," Chen He said

Chen Fengzhen then threatened to charge him with rape. That led to an argument during which Chen He said he pushed her, causing her to fall and hit her head hard on the ground.

Chen He said he waited for about half an hour but the woman didn't move. He believed she was dead but didn't check her pulse or her breathing.

It is alleged that he then dismembered her body in a bathtub.

It wasn't until June 20 last year that workers digging the sewers and drains on Jianchuan Road found a bag containing a skull and other bones.

A police doctor confirmed they were from Chen Fengzhen after DNA tests.

Sun Yongming, the victim's husband, said he learned from friends of his wife that Chen Fengzhen had lent 6,000 yuan (US$878) to Chen He. She had gone to seek repayment on the day she disappeared.

The defendant denied knowledge of any loan at yesterday's hearing.


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