New details have been released about the man who killed 42 people by putting rat poison in food, three days after a Nanjing city court sentenced him to death. Chen Zhengping, who had spent time in prison for stealing, was driven by anger to place the poison in the breakfast snacks of a business rival in the town of Tangshan, about 20km from Nanjing, according to Xinhua. It is not unusual for the authorities to release information about people convicted of serious crimes, but in this case there has been intense public interest in the crime and the legal process. Questions have been posted on Web sites regarding the speed at which the case has moved, and there have been demands for more information about the man found guilty of the crime. Chen faced trial two weeks after the announcement of his capture and was convicted by the Nanjing Intermediate People's Court in a hearing lasting just over two hours. Xinhua defended the court's handling of the case, saying the conviction was based on conclusive evidence and a confession. Chen, 32, is from Shangye village north of Nanjing, Xinhua said. He was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison in 1992 for stealing. He ran a bakery in Tangshan but he was angry at the owner of a rival shop, Chen Zongwu, over 'trivial matters', the agency said. Residents said the grudge was well known in the town. The men share the same surname, but Xinhua did not make it clear if there was any family relationship. Some newspapers have claimed the two were cousins. At around 11pm on the night of September 13, Chen managed to put rat poison in the ingredients used by his competitor to make cakes and fried dough, Xinhua said. Xinhua confirmed the death toll had risen to 42. More than 300 others fell ill after eating the food. The agency waited for days before announcing a death toll of 38, giving rise to scepticism over the official tally, which some residents said was too low. Chen technically has 10 days to appeal his sentence, but court officials declined to say if he would do so. The court convicted him on Monday, the eve of a week-long holiday for National Day. Legal experts said he was unlikely to appeal due to the fact that he had confessed. The government is keen to limit negative news during the National Day holiday and ahead of the 16th Communist Party Congress next month, analysts say. Authorities threw a veil of secrecy over the case, except for approved reports by Xinhua.