Murderer of Chinese overseas student in Germany sentenced to life in prison

Updated 2017-08-05 10:05:10 Xinhua

The rapist and murderer of a Chinese overseas student in Germany was sentenced to lifelong imprisonment, and his accomplice received a youth penalty of five years and six months for sexual coercion, a court in eastern German town of Dessau-Rosslau delivered the verdict Friday.

Local media Mitteldeutche Zeitung reported both defendants, Sebastian F. and Xenia I., were also ordered to pay damages for pain and suffering of 60,000 euros.

Li Yangjie, a 25-year-old architecture student went missing while jogging on the evening of May 11, 2016 in the city of Dessau. Her disfigured body was found abandoned in brush near the crime scene two days later before the police identified the both 20-year-old male and female suspects.

According to prosecutors, the two lured her to an empty apartment and then sexually assaulted her. When they found Li still alive, they carried the severely wounded victim away and abandoned her outside.

The case aroused tremendous public attention in both China and Germany. The male culprit's parents are both police officers, and dpa reported there had been temporary suspicion that the parents might have an influence on the investigation.

Chinese expatriates and overseas students across Germany had held memorials in various localities following the tragedy, also demanding a fair and just handling of the case.

Li's attorney Sven Peitzner told Xinhua Friday evening that their side is satisfied about the lifelong sentence for Sebastian F., but not satisfied about Xenia's penalty or the court judgement that Xenia is not guilty concerning the murder. Xenia got five years and a half for rape.

Peitzner said the verdict specified that Sebastian cannot ask for probation after 15 years like those sentenced to life-in-prison do in normal cases, and he will stay in prison for longer than twenty years, because it is a "severe case" and because of the "heavy guilt" of the criminal.

After Germany abolished death penalty in 1949, lifelong imprisonment is the heaviest penalty, but the condemned have the right to apply for probation after 15 years in jail.

However, "we are convinced that Xenia did more than the court believes," said Peitzner, adding there was proof that the woman culprit also took part in murder and they will appeal against the woman's verdict.

According to Peitzner, both defendants did not accept the verdict. "Sebastian will definitely appeal because he has nothing to loose, but it's not known yet whether Xenia will appeal."

Concerning the crime itself, Peitzner gave his opinion, "It's quite bad of what they did because they pretended to need help and Li just wanted to help them. She was a nice girl, and that's what they exploited, which makes it very bad."

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