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Retrial of 1995 robbery, theft cases opens in E China


08:28, June 26, 2013

HANGZHOU, June 25 (Xinhua) -- The trial of five men who were sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve or life imprisonment for robbery and theft in 1995 reopened on Tuesday after new evidence was discovered.

Chen Jianyang, Tian Weidong, Zhu Youping and Tian Xiaoping had been convicted of robbing a taxi driver and contributing to his death on March 20, 1995 in Xiaoshan District of Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, according to the provincial Higher People's Court.

Chen Jianyang, Tian Weidong, Wang Jianping and Tian Xiaoping had also been found guilty of carrying out a robbery in the same area on Aug. 12, 1995.

Chen Jianyang and Tian Weidong were charged with stealing property valued at 1,600 yuan (260 U.S. dollars).

Tian Xiaoping also robbed two truck drivers on his own on Oct. 5, 1995.

Chen Jianyang, Tian Weidong and Wang Jianping were given the death penalty, while Zhu was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve by the Intermediate People's Court of Hangzhou on July 11, 1997. Tian Xiaoping was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The four men who were given the death penalty appealed to the higher court, and all of them received a death sentence with a two-year reprieve by the Zhejiang Provincial Higher People's Court on Dec. 29, 1997.

However, in July 2011, police arrested a man named Xiang Shengyuan, whose fingerprints matched the ones found at the scene of the robbery and death of the taxi driver in 1995.

Xiang was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve for the crime of intentional homicide on May 30, 2013.

In May this year, the provincial Higher People's Court granted a retrial of the cases of the five people who may have been wrongly convicted.

In Tuesday's trial, the prosecutor suggested that the verdicts be changed in the two 1995 cases, because there were factual errors in the original trial of the robbery case in March 1995 and there was a lack of evidence in the other robbery case in August 1995.

Nearly 100 people, including the five defendants in the original trial, their families and journalists, attended the trial.

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