Beijing resident Yang Jia, who allegedly murdered six policemen and injured four in a knife attack two weeks ago in Shanghai, could have been suffering from "temporary mental disorder", two lawyers offering to defend him said.
Beijing-based lawyer Xiong Liesuo questioned the objectivity of a Shanghai court statement released less than a week after the July 1 knife attack. It said the 28-year-old was "sober-minded and should therefore be held fully responsible for his behavior".
"Such an investigation normally takes about a month before any judgment is made," Xiong said.
Xiong, 40, and his colleague Kong Jian, entrusted by Yang's father, arrived in Shanghai on Tuesday. "We have applied to meet Yang today to clarify details," Xiong said. "We hope he accepts our assistance."
Their application was still being processed on Tuesday afternoon by Shanghai Municipal People's Procuratorate.
He allegedly stabbed a security guard at Zhabei substation and started a fire at the gate, forcing entry and attacking nine police officers.
"We'll propose to Shanghai authorities that Yang be tried outside Zhabei district and in an open court session to ensure a fair investigation and trial," said Xiong of the Beijing Xiongzhi Law Firm.
He added that although a death sentence was likely in Yang's case, defending him was still "worth a try".
Yang, who is unemployed, subsists on his mother's pension and 800 yuan ($114) a month from his father.
Shanghai police authorities said the killings were in revenge for a lengthy interrogation last year when he was suspected of stealing a bike. Yang actually rented the bike last October while traveling in the city.
The knife attack caused widespread anger in China, although some people expressed sympathy for Yang.
The Shanghai Municipal People's Procuratorate formally arrested Jia Xiaoyin on Monday, accusing him of slandering police and disrupting social order.
The 22-year-old allegedly fabricated an Internet posting on July 2 saying that Yang had taken revenge on the police because the beating he took from police in the Zhabei public security bureau had left him with permanently damaged genitals. "I never knew Yang Jia I just feel proud of the wide response to my article," Jia was quoted as saying in the Shanghai Morning Post.