China convicts man of 1996 crime for which teen was executed

AP News
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Posted: Feb 09, 2015 3:39 AM

BEIJING (AP) — The parents of a man executed for murder and rape and then posthumously exonerated 18 years later watched Monday as a court in northern China convicted and sentenced another man for those crimes, according to state media.

The Hohhot Intermediate People's Court in Inner Mongolia said in an online statement that it had convicted serial killer and rapist Zhao Zhihong of murder and rape and sentenced him to death.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported that those charges referred to the murder of 10 people and the rape of 13 women and girls between April 1996 and July 2005. They included the 1996 rape and murder of a woman in a toilet in a cotton mill. An 18-year-old cigarette factory worker called Huugjilt had discovered the body and reported it to police, and was convicted and sentenced for the crime 61 days later.

Huugjilt, who went by one name like many ethnic Mongolians, was executed for the crime soon afterward, and cleared only last December.

Three days after his exoneration, state media announced that the police officer who had been in charge of Huugjilt's case and promoted for his handling of it had now been charged with torture to coerce confession, dereliction of duty and taking bribes.

Xinhua reported that the parents of Huugjilt were in the courtroom Monday.

They have been awarded state compensation of 2.06 million yuan ($335,000) for their son's death, funeral expenses, mental damages and restrictions on his freedom before his conviction, according to state media reports.

Zhao, 42, on Monday also received prison sentences and fines for separate crimes of robbery and theft, the court said.