Student Driver Stands Trial for Murder
    2011-03-23 11:06:34     Xinhua      Web Editor: Liu

Yao Jiaxin, who is suspected of murdering a young mother after a car accident, stands on trial Wednesday, March 23, 2011, in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province. [Photo:]

A university student went on trial Wednesday for murdering a young mother after accidentally running into her with his car last year, said court officials in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

Yao Jiaxin, a 21-year-old student at the Xi'an Conservatory of Music, knocked down cyclist Zhang Miao while driving his Chevrolet Cruze at around 11 p.m. on Oct. 20.

When Yao saw Zhang staring at him and his number plate, Yao stabbed her to death, police allege.

Xi'an-based lawyer Fang Ligang said Yao was accused of murder, but it was not certain whether the court ruling would be announced immediately after the first trial on Wednesday.

Fang said the court would probably focus on whether Yao surrendered to police after the woman's death, which the victim's lawyer, Xu Tao, refuted.

Xu, a Xi'an lawyer, offered free legal counseling to the victim's family.

He said Yao could face the death penalty if convicted of murder. The most lenient penalty, however, could be a 10-year jail term, if the murder charge was rejected.

Yao fled the scene after stabbing the victim eight times with a knife, and in a hurry to drive away, he injured two other passersby, a man and a woman, police said.

Police apprehended Yao on Oct. 22 and was detained the following day. He allegedly admitted to killing the woman because he feared the "peasant woman would be hard to deal with."

On the night of her death, Zhang, 26, the mother of a 2-year-old boy, was returning home from her temporary job as a canteen assistant at Northwest University's Chang'an Branch.

Police said she suffered only slight injuries from the traffic accident, including a fracture to her left leg.

Sources close to the victim's family said Zhang's father had turned down 30,000 yuan in compensation from Yao's parents.

Zhang's husband Wang Hui also refused to accept an apology from Yao's family, saying he would do all he could to ensure the killer was brought to justice.

The case has aroused widespread public fury and suspicion over whether Yao's parents could use their money and power to get a lenient sentence for their son.

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