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Zhejiang serial murder case reopened

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-01-25 19:30

HANGZHOU - A court in East China's Zhejiang province has announced a review of a serial murder case from 1995, 18 years after five people were given reprieved death sentences over the crime.

The Supreme People's Court in Zhejiang said in a notice that it has restarted investigation of the robbery and murder of two taxi drivers that happened in Xiaoshan district of Hangzhou city on March 20 and August 12, 1995, respectively.

The move came after police captured a suspect in late December last year whose finger prints matched those collected by police at the scene of the March murder.

Police have no new evidence on the second murder.

The supreme court said during the reinvestigation, "If there was a mistake, it will have to be corrected."

The finger prints of none of the five jailed people matched any of those collected at the crime scenes. Xinhua's sources with the court said the verdicts were given based on "oral testimonies" from police.

All of the then 20-something men appealed for a second trial after three were given death sentences, one was given a death sentence with a reprieve and another life imprisonment for robbery, murder and theft at the first trial in 1997.

None of them admitted they had been involved in the robbery and murder at the second trial by the Hangzhou Intermediate People's Court, which only granted a reprieve on each of the three death sentences and sustained the first trial sentences of the other two.

Among the five, Tian Weidong was freed from jail on January 11 this year after receiving several mitigations of punishment in prison.

Tian declined media interviews, saying he would rather wait for the court to deliver its result of the reinvestigation.

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