Taiwan's 'Murder Cafe' barista loses appeal, sentenced to death

Taiwan's 'Murder Cafe' barista loses appeal, sentenced to death

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Hsieh Yi-han (謝依涵), the accused managing barista from the "Murder Cafe" case of February 2013, was found guilty and sentenced to death again in her second trial yesterday.

Reportedly, Hsieh was supposed to be at the Taiwan High Court (臺灣高等法院) for the hearing. However, before the court was due to convene, the accused provided a statement to declare her absence. Instead, the sister and brother-in-law of 79-year-old victim Chen Chin-fu (陳進福) were seen in court for the sentencing.

Following her initial arrest, the accused changed her statements four times, with stories ranging from the murder being a crime of greed that was conducted with the help of cafe owner Lu Ping-hung (呂炳宏), cafe shareholder Ou Shih-chen (歐石城) and Chung Tien-feng (鍾典峰), to it being a crime of passion whereby Chen promised to provide her with financial security should Hsieh murder his 57-year-old wife Chang Tsui-ping (張翠萍), a professor at Shih Chien University (實踐大學), for him.

When questioned by local press, the family members of the victims stated they felt that sentencing Hsieh to death was the just thing to do. However, the family stated that they do not feel any sense of happiness in the decision, nor do they believe that Chen was involved in the extramarital affair, which Hsieh stated was the motive that sparked her crime in the final version of her statement.

Court States that Hsieh Showed No Sign of Remorse

During the trail, the High Court ruled that Hsieh had acted alone, unlike in the first trial where the possibility of multiple suspects was the hypothesis favoured. The court explained that Hsieh's murder of Chen was considered an Offence of Homicide, which would have sentenced the accused to a life sentence. However, the killing of Chen's wife is considered an Offence of Robbery and Homicide, which legally sentences offenders to death.

According to the public ruling, the court stated that Hsieh's greed over Chen's wealth prompted the accused to subdue and murder both of her victims. Hsieh was recorded to have proceeded to withdraw NT$350,000 (S$14,660) from the account of Chen while in disguise, which the court took as an example of her mercilessness and brutality. The court also stated that Hsieh showed no sign of remorse during the period of her incarceration and had not made any effort to try and settle the case with the victims' families.

Along with a death sentence, Hsieh has been sentenced to deprivation of civil rights for the remainder of her life. The court also ordered the accused to compensate the victim's families with NT$9.99 million. But, as Hsieh does not have any wealth under her name, the families are likely only to receive the payment on paper and given nothing tangible.

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