Top prosecutors made exception to time limit because of crime's brutality
A man who raped and killed an 8-year-old girl more than 20 years ago was finally convicted of the crime after a rare move by the Supreme People's Procuratorate approving his prosecution even though the time limit for legal action had expired.
The man, surnamed Liu, was tried in Zhengzhou Intermediate People's Court, which sentenced him on Jan 24 to death with a reprieve of two years. He was also deprived of his political rights for life and ordered to pay the victim's family 42,900 yuan ($6,800) in compensation, according to a statement about the case released on Thursday by the SPP.
Liu will not appeal the conviction.
"Although the 20-year limit had passed, we made the decision to prosecute the suspect in accordance with the law because of the vicious nature of the offense and the serious consequences it brought," the SPP said.
The rape took place in November 1996, after Liu got a job at a coal mine in Magou village of Xinmi, in Henan province. He had been on the job for two days when he encountered the 8-year-old girl, surnamed Guo, on a remote road. She was on her way home after school.
Liu, who claimed he was drunk, dragged the girl into an abandoned home nearby and raped her. In the course of the rape, he strangled the girl. He then buried her body and fled.
After several days, the victim's body was discovered and the police confirmed that the girl had been raped. But technology for criminal investigations at the time was not highly advanced, and the case sat unresolved for many years.
In 2013, with the development of DNA analysis, Henan police matched Liu with material collected from the victim, and he was captured in March last year, the SPP said. Under the Criminal Law, if charges are not filed within 20 years, the case must be submitted to the SPP for review before it can proceed. Top prosecutors then decide whether or not to charge the suspect.
Li Aimin, a prosecutor in the Xinmi People's Procuratorate in charge of handling crimes against children, said that Liu's violence during the rape caused the girl's death. In addition, the crime had a major impact on the victim's family and on local residents. Consequently, in March last year, prosecutors in Xinmi submitted the case to the SPP for review. After receiving approval to proceed, it transferred the case to prosecutors in Zhengzhou.
"To uphold justice and fairness, we submitted the case to the top prosecuting department for review, as provided by law," she said.