by Joon Kim
Taipei－The Taiwan High Court upheld the life sentence of Wang Jing-wei (王景玉), whose beheading of a four-year-old girl, nicknamed “Little Light Bulb（小燈泡）,” spurred a national debate on the death penalty, the court announced Tuesday.
This designates the second ruling after the case was appealed by the Shilin District Court last May.
On March 2016, the 33-year-old used a cleaver to decapitate Little Light Bulb, aged 4, while she was riding a bicycle, and her mother was walking on the streets of Neihu District on their way to an MRT station.
Mr. Wang’s mental ability to discern the stakes of morality was taken into deliberation, said Hsieh Ching-hui (謝靜慧), the presiding judge at the High Court. Ms. Hsieh explained that Mr. Wang’s psychotic diagnosis had largely influenced the court’s decision.
Mr. Wang, a schizophrenic who often went in and out of hospitals, would hallucinate with symptoms of association psychiatric disorders, saying that he was a Chinese emperor, and had to kill a girl so that a woman could bear his child and preserve his bloodline, investigators said. His diagnosis was confirmed earlier by a psychiatric test that was conducted at the Taipei Veterans General Hospital, which he had passed.
The court’s ruling also stated that the Ministry of Justice and the Agency of Corrections must carefully examine all conditions of the case, until Mr. Wang is eligible for parole.
The court prosecutor, Huang Tung-hsi (黃東熹), however, said that this was “a worrisome prospect” in the Taiwanese community. “Our nation has at times granted general amnesty for prisoners, so Wang could be out of prison even before that,” said Ms. Huang.
During a trial at the Shilin District Court in September 2016, Little Light Bulb’s father Liu Ta-ching (劉大經) reportedly expressed a “wish” to enforce Mr. Wang a death sentence. He refused to accept Wang’s apology — “I’m sorry, I admit I was wrong,” Mr. Wang said as he knelt before the judge. However, prosecutors said that Mr. Wang gave no signs of guilt during his stand.
Mr. Liu recalls that as he arrived at the scene of her daughter’s murder, he was lost for words. He simply knelt below, and lifted a white sheet that encased her body. “I saw my ‘Little Light Bulb,” he said to the Central News Agency. “Her eyes [were] half open and frozen in place with an expression as if to say, ‘what happened?’”
That day, Mr. Liu says, a part of his life died.