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United States

Confession of Chinese woman accused of murdering 5-year-old daughter in Ohio should be excluded, says lawyer

Authorities alleged that Chen Mingming repeatedly punched her daughter and that Chen’s husband tried to revive the girl before helping to hide her body

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 October, 2017, 4:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 October, 2017, 1:28pm

A police interview in which a Chinese woman acknowledged killing her 5-year-old daughter should be excluded from her murder trial because an interpreter wasn’t present, her defence lawyer argued.

Twenty-nine-year-old Chen Mingming, of Jackson Township, pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the death of Ashley Zhao, whose body was found hidden in their family’s North Canton, Ohio, restaurant called Ang’s Asian Cuisine after she was reported missing in January.

Prosecutors noted in court on Monday that Chen had not requested the interpreter to return when she acknowledged killing Ashley, The Repository reported. Chen cried when segments of the police interview were played in court.

Chen waived her constitutional rights concerning police questioning and agreed to be questioned without an lawyer during the interview. She understood the notice of constitutional rights when it was read to her in Mandarin Chinese, according to FBI language specialist Lynn Tai.

Chen’s lawyer, Richard Drucker, argued she waived her right to a lawyer during the interview with the understanding an interpreter would be present. The interpreter left for an unexplained reason, and Chen was left with the detective, Drucker said.

Drucker also argued that police never told Chen she was free to leave during the interview.

A judge will decide whether to allow the interview as evidence.

Authorities allege that Chen repeatedly punched her daughter and that Chen’s husband, Liang Zhao, tried to revive the girl before helping to hide her body.

Zhao pleaded guilty to charges including obstructing justice and abuse of a corpse.