In a rare judgement, a high court in China on Tuesday overturned the convictions of five men by a lower court, including a death sentence, for killing a woman 14 years ago. Miao Xinhua was sentenced to death by the Intermediate People’s Court of Ningde City, Fujian, in August 2005 for killing the woman, while another four persons had received prison terms ranging from three to eight years for destroying the evidence.
The Fujian Higher People’s Court overturned the lower court verdict after it found that the previous convictions were based on insufficient evidence, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. In April 2003, a woman’s dismembered body was found in an abandoned house in Ningde City. Miao, the woman’s former boyfriend, was soon identified as a suspect and detained.
In April 2006, the Fujian Higher People’s Court upheld the lower court verdict but gave Miao a two-year reprieve. As Miao and the other suspects continued appealing, the higher court re-heard the case in July 2017 and revoked the original verdict.
This was the latest murder verdict to be corrected as China works to improve judicial justice and transparency. One high-profile case was that of 18-year-old Huugjilt, who was executed in 1996 for the rape and murder of a woman. He received a posthumous pardon in 2014 after a serial rapist and killer admitted to the crime.