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The American death penalty is extraordinarily fragile, with death sentences and executions on the decline. Public support for the death penalty has diminished. The practice is increasingly marginalized around the world. California, with its disproportionately large share of American death-row inmates, announces an end to the death penalty. The year? 1972. That’s when the California Supreme Court declared the death penalty inconsistent with the state’s constitutional prohibition of cruel or unusual punishments—only to have the death penalty restored a year later through popular initiative and legislation.
On Wednesday, again, California walked back its commitment to the death penalty. Though not full-fledged abolition, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a moratorium on capital punishment lasting as long as his tenure in office, insisting that the California death penalty has been an “abject…

Killer author who murdered 4 people 23 years ago then wrote acclaimed novels 'inspired by the case' is sentenced to death in China

DNA testing
An award-winning Chinese author has been sentenced to death 23 years after murdering 4 people, including a family of 3, for money.

The 53-year-old criminal, Liu Yongbiao, and an accomplice robbed and killed the victims in a family-run guesthouse before living as free men for more than 2 decades.

During the time, Liu became an acclaimed author in China. In a previous interview with China Central Television Station, Liu confessed that some of his novels were inspired by his thoughts about the murder.

But Liu did not dare to create any characters based on the people he had killed, he told a reporter from the China Central Television Station last year.

Liu also admitted that the bloody scenes and gory details had haunted him throughout the years and the feeling was 'worse than dying'.

Liu and his accomplice, named by the court as Wang, were both given a death penalty today during a trial in Huzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, according to the court.

The shocking murder took place on November 29 in 1995. The victims included 1 lodger, an elderly couple who owned the guesthouse and their grandson.

The case remained unsolved and a mystery for 22 years due to the lack of evidence.

Chinese police told the China Central Television that the guesthouse had failed to keep any information of their guests, which made it impossible for the police to track down the suspects in the populous nation. In addition, there was no CCTV cameras anywhere in the guesthouse.

While recalling the killing, Liu told the reporter that he and Wang used rope, clubs and hammers.

He said the details of the murder were 'so cruel' that he should 'die 100 times' for what he had done.

He also confessed that he and Wang killed the lodger, who shared a room with them, because he looked wealthy. However, he said in the end they only found a watch, a ring and more than 10 yuan (1 pound) cash on him.

Liu was interviewed in a prison last August after he was arrested by Huzhou police who had found DNA evidence.

The crucial DNA traces were obtained in June last year when police relaunched the investigation using genetic test technology. The evidence was extracted from the saliva on a cigarette butt found at the scene.

With the DNA information, the police travelled across 15 provinces in China in a bid to find the suspects. They compared the evidence to the data of more than 60,000 people within the space of 2 months.

Police made a breakthrough when they were informed that the DNA evidence matched the record of a clan with the surname Liu in Nanling, Anhui Province.

Huzhou police travelled to Nanling to visit the clan. After talking to the residents and working with the local police, they locked down Liu Yongbiao as a suspect.

On August 8, officers in plain clothes convinced Liu to provide his saliva for a DNA test after telling him that they were researching about the residents' family trees.

He said he sent his daughter and wife away while waiting for the DNA result. He also called his accomplice Wang, who lived in Shanghai, and told him they should face their fate.

2 days later, a lab test confirmed that Liu's DNA matched with the DNA traces on the cigarette.

At the wee hours of August 11, Liu was arrested at his home in Nanling. A few hours later, Wang was arrested at his home in Shanghai.

Liu Yongbiao, simply referred to by the court as Liu, and his accomplice Wang received their death penalty today at the Intermediate People's Court of Huzhou.

The court found Liu and Wang guilty of robbery and homicide at first instance.

The court said though both suspects had admitted to their charges, their crimes were especially serious and brought significance consequences to the society.

Therefore, the court decided to sentence them to death.

The court did not mention if the 2 planned to appeal against the ruling.

Source: dailymail.co.uk, Tracy You, July 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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