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Killer of 8 tells appeal trial he's 'kind-hearted'

A MAN who killed eight people, including a two-year-old boy, in central China's Hubei Province told his appeal trial yesterday he was "kind-hearted."

"I am not heinous by nature," Xiong Zhenlin wrote in his appeal submission to the Intermediate People's Court of Suizhou.

"I am smart and kind-hearted. It is good to be alive. Please give me a chance to live," Xiong wrote.

But the court, attended by three judges from the Hubei Provincial Higher People's Court, deferred judgement yesterday.

Presiding judge Yao Zhiming, from the No. 2 criminal tribunal of the Hubei Provincial Higher People's Court, said the case needed to be studied by both a collegial panel and the judicial committee with the Hubei Provincial Higher People's Court before a verdict could be reached.

Xiong, a junk collector, was convicted of killing eight people in Luoyang Township on January 4.

He was arrested in the provincial capital Wuhan a week later.

The victims included five of his employees, a local resident named Xia Guangxiu who had come to sell waste material, a 43-year-old woman named Zhu Deqing, whom Xiong hoped to marry, and Zhu's two-year-old grandson, according to court records.

The two-and-a-half-hour discussion during yesterday's court session centered on whether Xiong needed psychological appraisal. Xiong, with his head drooped throughout the trial, claimed he suffered from "serious depression" and "couldn't sleep at night last year."

The prosecutors and Xiong's defense lawyers also debated whether he was drunk when committing the murders and whether he deserved leniency for his confession.

Xiong was convicted of murder and sentenced to death on the same day at his initial trial at the Intermediate People's Court of Suizhou on February 9.

The court was told Xiong, who divorced last September, went on the rampage when he decided he would not be able to remarry, either his ex-wife or Zhu.

Local police said Xiong's crimes were also motivated by financial difficulties and an impaired psychological state.

Under Chinese law, appellate rulings are final. All death sentences must be reviewed by the Supreme People's Court.


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