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Collegiate murderer sentenced to death
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-04-26 08:02

College student Ma Jiajue was convicted on Saturday of murdering four of his classmates and given a death sentence by the Kunming Intermediate People's Court in Southwest China's Yunnan Province.

Ma, 22, from the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, killed the four students, described in court as his school acquaintances, from February 13-15, 2004.

Their bodies were found in a dormitory in the university on February 23, all bludgeoned to death with a blunt metal object.

Ma was later listed as a chief suspect by the Ministry of Public Security, which had offered a 200,000 yuan (US$24,000) reward for information leading to his apprehension.

He was found on March 15 in South China's Hainan Province.

Three of the victims' families were present at Saturday's verdict, and indicated they believe the trial was just.

Ma's sister burst into tears after the court's verdict and shouted to Ma that "you must appeal."

Before the verdict, she handed out information to the media asking for a second psychological examination of her brother by top national psychiatrists.

Earlier examinations found that Ma is normal.

Zhao Yao, one of Ma's lawyers, said Ma has not yet decided whether to appeal.

The court has not yet ruled on compensation.

One victim's parents said they will give up demands for compensation. But parents of the other three victims have asked for 820,000 yuan (US$99,000).

Cai Shunbin, spokesman of the Kunming Intermediate People's Court, said the court would support the compensation demands from families of the victims. The court will make a ruling once the scope and amount of compensation are defined.

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