TAIPEI - The Taipei District Court announced a 20-year prison sentence yesterday for Tsou Ya-ting, the woman who killed her great niece last November by poisoning her milk with salt.
The court sentenced Tsou to 20 years in prison with the possibility of parole. During deliberations, prosecutors argued that adding salt to an infant's milk is like using poison and that Tsou clearly intended to murder her niece.
According to reports, there has been much speculation as to whether evidence would be strong enough to allow for a murder conviction.
Tsou was originally indicted for first-degree murder, but the charge was later reduced to child neglect causing injury and death.
Tsou Not Present in Court to Hear Her Sentence
At the end of last year, Tsou's great niece died in a hospital with high sodium levels in her blood. Prosecutors became suspicious and started to investigate, discovering that Tsou had added table salt to her great niece's powdered formula. Tsou later confessed to police that she wasn't getting along with the child's mother and wanted to seek revenge, but had no intention of killing the infant.
On the night that the little girl died, Tsou had administered double the amount of salt that she usually added.
In total, Tsou added salt to her niece's milk on four different occasions.
The court concluded that Tsou wasn't aware that adding salt to formula would result in the girl's death. In addition, the court reasoned that Tsou didn't have a motive to kill her niece, since she was bickering with the girl's mother and not the infant. The court also pointed out that every time Tsou added salt to the milk, the girl was able to return home from the hospital unharmed, suggesting that she never wanted the infant dead.
The panel of judges concluded that Tsou used an unreasonable and despicable method to resolve an argument and hopes that she is able to repent during her time in prison. The judges also said that there was no need to sentence Tsou to life without parole and that she doesn't need to be removed from society for too long.