Death penalty upheld for Beijing road-rage baby killer

Court rejects appeal of convict who pled for lighter sentence, saying he threw baby on the street because he mistook her for groceries

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 November, 2013, 11:52am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 November, 2013, 11:58am

The Beijing High People’s Court today rejected the appeal of a man who killed a two-year-old during a carpark altercation with its mother, upholding the death penalty imposed by a lower court.

Han Lei, 39, was convicted of homicide by an intermediate court in September. The court ruled that he intentionally grabbed the girl from her pram and threw her on the ground during an argument with the child’s mum over a parking space on July 23 in Beijing’s Daxing district.

The girl suffered severe head injuries that led to her death a few days later.

Han appealed for a lighter sentence, arguing that he had no idea the child was in the stroller and that he mistook the sleeping child for a bag of groceries from the nearby supermarket. He even asked for a lie-detection test to support his claim at the appeal hearing earlier this month.

The prosecution presented two new pieces of evidence at the trial, with witnesses claiming Han said, “[I do not care] whether it’s a child or not”, before he threw the baby on the pavement.

The high court said on its official Weibo account that there was enough evidence to prove Han’s guilt and said he deserved a heavy sentence as he “did not repent” for his past crimes.

Han had been sentenced to life imprisonment for theft in 1996 and was released in October last year, nine months before he killed the baby.

The death penalty will still go through a review by the Supreme People’s Court.

Li Ming, who drove Han away from the scene, received a two-year sentence for harbouring him, and will serve a total of five years as he was on parole for an earlier three-year conviction.

The baby’s parents had previously asked for a 2.7 million yuan (HK$3.4 million) compensation from Han, but later retracted the request, fearing he would escape the death penalty if they accepted the apology from Han’s family.