Wife-in-freezer murderer gets death sentence

A man who killed his wife and stored her body in a freezer for three months was sentenced to death yesterday by Shanghai No.2 Intermediate People's Court.
Ti Gong

The court announces the death sentence for Zhu Xiaodong.

A man who killed his wife and stored her body in a freezer for three months was sentenced to death yesterday by Shanghai No.2 Intermediate People’s Court.

According to the Shanghai Law Journal, Zhu Xiaodong immediately appealed against the ruling, though this has not been confirmed by the court.

Zhu married Yang Liping in December 2015. On the morning of October 17, 2016, the court found that he grabbed her by the throat during a dispute at their home in Hongkou District and choked her to death. He then concealed her body in a freezer where it remained for three months.

Zhu confessed to his parents and turned himself in to police on February 1, 2017. In the interim he had used her money and ID card to travel around China and check into hotels with other women.

Zhu “recklessly squandered money on personal pleasure and showed no remorse,” the court said. 

At a previous trial, Zhu claimed that three days before the killing he and his wife had travelled to Hangzhou. Dissatisfied with the hotel and train arrangements, she blamed him. On returning home, she continued to complain.

He grabbed her by the throat in an effort to silence her, he said, but she stopped breathing after about five minutes. After she died, he wrapped her body in a duvet cover and put her in the freezer.

As a grievous crime with serious social implications the court did not grant any leniency, despite Zhu’s having gone voluntarily to the police.

Prosecutors said Zhu had impersonated Yang and pretended she was still alive via SMS and WeChat messages. 

He admitted to the court that he had used her credit card and squandered more than 100,000 yuan (US$14,500) on shopping and traveling after her death.

The verdict came nearly nine months after the trial began with Zhu retracting his statement of when the killing took place. 

Zhu had told police that he killed Yang on October 18, 2016, but told the court that he transferred money from her Alipay account soon after her death. The transfer was made on October 17. 

“Justice has finally been done,” Yang’s father Yang Ganlian said after the verdict. 

Yang said it had been extremely hard to endure such a protracted trial. He said he felt his heart jerk when he saw the sentencing notice posted on the court website on August 5. That night, he and his wife did not sleep. 

Yang has consistently demanded a tough sentence and claims never to have received an apology nor any compensation. Zhu’s parents have never paid a visit nor offered anything in recompense for their son’s actions, he said.

At the previous trial, Zhu said, “I made an unforgivable mistake in 2016. I failed my wife and our parents. If I could choose, I would like to exchange my life for hers. I am so sorry. It is clear that I can do nothing to make amends for the harm to her parents. I hope to receive my due punishment as soon as possible.”

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