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Pope Declares Death Penalty Inadmissible in All Cases

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ROME — Pope Francis has declared the death penalty inadmissible in all cases because it is “an attack” on the “dignity of the person,” the Vatican announced on Thursday, in a definitive shift in Roman Catholic teaching that could put enormous pressure on lawmakers and politicians around the world.
Francis, who has spoken out against capital punishment before — including in 2015 in an address to Congress — added the change to the Catechism, the collection of beliefs for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
The revision says the church would work “with determination” for the abolition of capital punishment worldwide.
“I think this will be a big deal for the future of the death penalty in the world,” said John Thavis, a Vatican expert and author. “People who work with prisoners on death row will be thrilled, and I think this will become a banner social justice issue for the church,” he added.
Sergio D’Elia, the secretary of Hands Off Cain, an association that works to abolish capital puni…

China: Serial killer sentenced to death

Gao Chengyong
Beijing, Mar 30 (PTI) -- A court in northwest China today gave the death penalty to a serial killer, dubbed "Jack the Ripper", for killing 11 female victims, including an eight-year-old girl, between May 1988 and February 2002.

Gao Chengyong, 53, was found to have robbed, raped and mutilated his victims, according to a report in state-run Xinhua news agency.

The youngest of the victims was an eight-year-old girl.

The Peoples Intermediate Court of Baiyin City said in its verdict that the crimes happened in the northwest Gansu Province and neighbouring Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

The court found he killed his victims to cover up robbery or rape in Baiyin, Gansu and Baotou, Inner Mongolia.

Gao confessed his crimes in the court and said he would not file an appeal.

He was arrested in August 2016 after a DNA test of one of his relatives for an unrelated crime suggested he could be linked to the serial killings.

The "Ripper" was being hunted by the police for 28 years.

Before his arrest, Gao, who targeted his victims wearing red, had terrified young women, often following them to their home, state media reports have said.

The original Jack the Ripper was a serial killer active in east London in the late Victorian era. The cases he was believed to have been involved in have not been solved yet. 

Source: PTI, March 30, 2018


'Vicious' Killer of 11 Women Gets Death Penalty in China


Chines death-row inmates
30 years after Gao Chengyong embarked on a succession of 11 rape-murders of women in northwest China, a court sentenced him to death on Friday, following an investigation that involved sifting through 230,000 fingerprints.

The sentence by a court in Baiyin, a small city in Gansu Province, was not unexpected in China, which executes more prisoners than any other. But the verdict against Mr. Gao, 53, a farmer, itinerant worker and shopkeeper, was widely reported, and applauded, in China, where the killings drew intense attention.

"The motives for the defendant Gao Chengyong's crimes were utterly despicable, the means were utterly vicious, the nature of the crimes utterly vile," the court's verdict stated, according to the China News Service, an official agency.

The court found that Mr. Gao had killed 11 women, whom he usually followed to their homes. He murdered all but one around Baiyin; another woman was killed in Baotou, a city in the north Chinese region of Inner Mongolia. In many cases, he molested the women and dismembered their bodies. Besides homicide, he also was found guilty of rape and of defiling corpses. He stood trial last July.

When Mr. Gao was arrested in 2016, the last murder had taken place 14 years earlier, and the police needed advanced forensic technology, as well as an element of chance, to link him to the crimes.

Zhang Enwei, a forensic detective who helped solve the murders, said he had checked 230,000 sets of fingerprints trying to identify a suspect, Beijing News, a newspaper, reported on Friday. But Mr. Gao was one of hundreds of millions of rural migrants who move around, often slipping past city data checks, and he was not caught in the dragnet for fingerprints in Baiyin.

But by 2011, the detectives in Baiyin had acquired technology to trace DNA clues, and 5 years later a relative of Mr. Gao had his DNA sample taken after he was suspected of giving kickbacks. Their shared traits led the investigators to Mr. Gao, who was then running a small store in a school in Baiyin with his wife.

Mr. Zhang said Mr. Gao was very calm when he was shown the evidence, according to the Beijing News. "Basically he did not offer too much of a defense," Mr. Zhang said. "He knew that this day would come."

Mr. Gao said he would not appeal the sentence. In an interview last year, his defense lawyer, Zhu Aijun, denied reports that Mr. Gao had chosen as his victims only women and girls with long hair and dressed in red.

Mr. Gao said he had "chosen his targets for crimes at random," Mr. Zhu told a Chinese news website. "That was one of the reasons that it was so hard to crack the case for a long time."

Source: New York Times, March 30, 2018


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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