Yishun murders: Death penalty stands

A Chinese national who killed three women, including his lover and her daughter, in vicious fashion in a Yishun flat in 2008 has failed in his bid to escape the gallows. Wang Zhijian showed no emotion when he lost his appeal against his murder conviction yesterday.

And while it does not change his fate, the 48-year-old now stands guilty of murder for all three deaths, instead of one.

Six years ago, on the night of Sept 18, Wang stabbed his lover Zhang Meng, 41, her daughter Feng Jianyu, 17, and their flatmate Yang Jie, 36. Madam Yang's daughter, Li Meilin, then 15, was also repeatedly slashed but survived the ordeal.

The killing frenzy was sparked by an argument with Madam Zhang, with whom Wang had a tortured relationship. A while later, when the woman was lying on a mattress, he got a knife from the kitchen and stabbed and slashed her 48 times.

When Jianyu opened the door, he attacked her. She suffered 45 knife wounds. Wang then went to the opposite room and attacked Meilin.

He denied knowing how Madam Yang had died. But forensic experts concluded that she had escaped out of the kitchen window, clung onto bamboo pole holders there but lost her grip when Wang slashed her fingers. She fell six floors to her death.

All four victims were Chinese nationals.

On the day that he was charged, Wang grinned broadly for the photographers.

In 2012, the High Court convicted Wang of murder only for the death of Madam Yang.

He was found guilty of culpable homicide for the deaths of Madam Zhang and Jianyu, after the court accepted his defence that he suffered an adjustment disorder that caused him to lose control.

During the trial, he once broke down as he recounted the night's events. "You can sentence me to death. Just don't ask me any more. It is too uncomfortable."

Yesterday, the three-judge appeals court dismissed Wang's appeal against his murder conviction. Instead, it allowed the prosecution's appeal for Wang to be found guilty of murder for the other two deaths as well.

The appeals court said that all the objective evidence pointed to the conclusion that Wang had cut Madam Yang's fingers and there was "no doubt" that he had intended to kill her.

As for Madam Zhang and Jianyu, the court was not convinced that Wang lost control because of a mental condition that reduced his responsibility for his actions.

Instead, he had killed Madam Zhang out of extreme anger to "finish her off so that she would never feature in his life again". As for Jianyu, he wanted to eliminate her because she was a witness.


This article was first published on Nov 29, 2014.
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