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Shaanxi Temple Axe Murderer Gets Death
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A man who embarked on a killing spree in July slaughtering 11 and injuring two more was sentenced to death yesterday at Ankang Intermediate People's Court in northwest China's Shaanxi Province.


Qiu Xinghua, 47, had 5,000 yuan (US$632.7) of personal property confiscated as compensation for the relatives of the victims. After the verdict, Qiu said he would appeal, adding: "I am so sorry for the victims and their relatives. I really regret it and hope society will not discriminate against my family."


This case has drawn huge public attention, both for the brutality of the slayings and for the seemingly sudden violent streak having consumed Qiu, who had no previous record of criminal activity or mental health problems.


The local procurator charged that between June 18 and July 2, Qiu and his wife He Ranfeng went to the local Tiewadian Temple on two occasions.


Qiu argued with Song Daocheng, a temple manager, who stopped him from moving two objects.


"Qiu thought Xiong Wancheng, the chief of the temple, took liberties with his wife during their stay at the temple, and so he angrily made a plan to kill the people there and destroy the temple," Li Decai, public procurator, read in the indictment.


On July 14, Qiu returned to the temple and killed all 10 people there in the middle of the night with an axe. The victims, nine males and one female, aged between 12 and 62, included Xiong and Song. Following this, on the night of July 15, Qiu burnt the temple to the ground and escaped, the indictment stated.


On July 31, Qiu injured a farmer named Wei Yikai, his wife Xu Kaixiu and daughter Wei Jinmei in Suizhou, Hubei, a neighboring province of Shaanxi, near Qiu's home town. Wei later died of his injuries on September 9, Li said, adding that Qiu also stole 1,302 yuan (US$164.8) from Wei. Qiu was arrested by local police on August 19, 35 days after the temple killings.


Prosecutors indicted Qiu on charges of intentional murder and robbery. Qiu confessed to the crimes, confronted with a wealth of witnesses and physical evidence.


According to Zhao Xiaoxu, the presiding judge, the collegiate bench found that the facts were clear and there was ample evidence.


Zhang Yong, Qiu's lawyer, said that although his client was charged with 11 deaths, he would appeal.


"I met with Qiu twice before the trial, and found that his mind was very clear and he wrote a defense of his own. I think the evidence provided by local procurators was very clear," Zhang said.


According to a court source, no relatives of Qiu or the victims attended the trial. However, he met with his son Qiu Donghai on Wednesday. "He told his son to study hard and be a good man," said Qin Kangjian, director of Ankang public security bureau.


According to a local newspaper Chinese Business View, Qiu Donghai said that his father looked healthy and was writing his life story.


"He has written dozens of pages, describing his poor life and various tough experiences," Qiu Donghai was quoted as saying.


(China Daily October 20, 2006)

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