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Man gets death sentence for 8 murders
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A villager from northwest China's Gansu Province was sentenced to death for a series of murders that included six people in his village and a taxi driver and a prostitute elsewhere in the province, under a court ruling.

Ran Zhouping, 32, a native of Shangla Village, Dangchang County, got a death sentence in a new trial after he confessed to further crimes while serving a life sentence for having murdered a prostitute, the Lanzhou Intermediate People's Court heard on Friday.

Ran's new conviction, the death sentence, was for the fatal stabbings of villager Ran Jinshui's mother and four children under age 10. He then gunned down Ran Jinshui, who was doing farming work, on Sept. 30, 2001. The court heard that the murder of Ran Jinshui arose from a dinner-time dispute with the convicted Ran.

An accomplice in this case, Ran Xiangzhong, is still at large.

Ran then fled to Wuwei City, elsewhere in the province, where he and two others fatally stabbed a taxi driver surnamed Zhou in a robbery attempt on Nov. 28, 2001.

He then went to the Gansu provincial capital, Lanzhou, where he used the pseudonym Zhao Jiangren. There, he killed a prostitute surnamed Wang after having had sex with her at a hotel on Apr. 6, 2002.

The serial killer was arrested on June 2, 2002 in Lanzhou. But at that point, he only confessed to murdering the prostitute and was given a life sentence by the Lanzhou Intermediate People's Court in November 2003.

At the beginning of 2007, prison guards said Ran was mentally unstable. He was then persuaded to confess to his other crimes.

Ran said he would not appeal against the death penalty. His execution still requires final approval by the Supreme People's Court.

Mi Xiaojun, an accomplice of Ran in the Wuwei taxi driver murder case, was sentenced to 13 years in prison. The third suspect in the case, Wu Junping, has yet to be apprehended.

(Xinhua News Agency December 30, 2007)

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