After 9778 days of detention, Zhang Yuhuan was sentenced to not guilty.
In 1993, he was accused of killing two boys from the same village. He continued to appeal after his death was suspended. The Jiangxi Higher People’s Court found that the original judgment was “unclear and insufficient evidence”
On August 3, the exterior view of Zhang Yuhuan's old house.
On July 11, Zhang Baogang, Zhang Yuhuan's second son, stood in front of the collapsed old house.
A group photo of Song Xiaonv and Zhang Yuhuan in their early years.
On the evening of August 4, Zhang Yuhuan returned home and met his mother who had been waiting for him to return home. A10-11 edition photography/Beijing News reporter Lu Zhongsheng, Wu Qi, Zhang Shengpo
At about 16:00 on August 4, the Jiangxi Higher People's Court pronounced Zhang Yuhuan on the murder of a child in a retrial and declared Zhang Yuhuan not guilty.
Zhang Yuhuan is a 53-year-old villager from Zhangjia Village, Touling Village, Gongzhen Village Committee Town, Huangling Township, Jinxian County, Nanchang City, Jiangxi Province. In December 1993, Zhang Yuhuan, then 26, was accused of killing two boys in the same village. In January 1995, Zhang Yuhuan was sentenced to death by the Nanchang Intermediate Court for intentional homicide, with a two-year suspension of execution. In March of the same year, the Jiangxi Provincial High Court revoked the first-instance judgment on the grounds of "unclear facts and insufficient evidence" and ruled that the Nanchang Intermediate Court retrial the case.
In 2001, the Nanchang Intermediate People's Court made a final judgment on the Zhang Yuhuan case and upheld the sentence of "death sentence with a two-year suspension of execution".
Over the years, Zhang Yuhuan, his family and his agents have continued to appeal, requesting the court to acquit him in accordance with the law. In March 2019, the Jiangxi Provincial Higher People's Court decided to retry the case, and the trial was opened at 9 am on July 9 this year.
At the scene of the trial, the inspector of the Jiangxi Provincial Procuratorate submitted to the court that the facts of Zhang Yuhuan's intentional homicide case were unclear and the evidence was insufficient. He suggested that Zhang Yuhuan be acquitted in accordance with the law. The court decided to choose a date to pronounce the sentence.
Yesterday afternoon, the Jiangxi Provincial Higher People's Court held a public hearing to pronounce on Zhang Yuhuan's intentional homicide. The judge stated that there is no direct evidence that Zhang Yuhuan committed a crime, and that the authenticity of his previous guilty confession cannot be used as legal evidence. He was found innocent based on the principle of never suspected guilty.
Zhang Yuhuan listened to the verdict on the live screen in Nanchang Prison. So far, Zhang Yuhuan has been detained for 9778 days. Last night, Zhang Yuhuan had returned home.
"Finally waited for this day"
On July 31, after learning that Zhang Yuhuan's case was about to be retrial and sentenced, Zhang Yuhuan's ex-wife Song Xiaonv and two sons rushed back to Jinxian's hometown from Dongshan County, Fujian.
"I finally waited for this day. 27 years is long enough, but this month seems even longer." Zhang Baogang, Zhang Yuhuan's second son, said.
They have already returned once on July 6. At that time, Song Xiaonv learned from the attorney that the retrial will start on July 9. She hurriedly took a ride back to her hometown with her son from a fellow Jiangxi.
She and her son returned to Zhangjiacun first to prepare a place for Zhang Yuhuan. Since Zhang Yuhuan's accident, their emotional home has disappeared, and the old house has quickly been abandoned.
Today, the old house has almost completely collapsed. In the bedroom, the roof tiles covered the ground, and all the furniture was broken wood. There is only one wooden locker and two pieces of wooden boards left. This is the only object that can carry the memory of this family's life-Zhang Yuhuan used to be a carpenter, and the wedding furniture was all made by him.
Zhang Yuhuan’s 80-year-old mother lives in a two-story house next to the old house. After the house was built by his third son many years ago, it has not been decorated. The old man lives here alone. It took a day for Song Xiaomi, mother and son to clean up an empty room.
At three or four o'clock in the morning on July 9th, it was finally dawn, and Miss Song could not lie down anymore. Her first reaction was to hurry up and freshen up. That morning, in order to let Zhang Yuhuan see her most beautiful image, she changed into the new clothes her son bought for her, and spent two or three hours looking for a hairstyle that satisfies her.
At 12 noon on July 9th, as the judge announced the elective sentence, the closed court gavel sounded, and Miss Song felt "so regretful", "I was blinded by the hair I combed all morning."
The time for the final sentencing is uncertain. She and her two sons returned to Fujian first. On the way back, she posted a circle of friends: "This short 20 days seems to have brought me back to 1993, the day of life. Never laugh. A person who is drunk and crying, you never know what he has gone through."
Sentenced with a suspended death sentence for murder
At lunch on October 24, 1993, two boys from Zhangjia Village, 6-year-old Zhang Mourong and 4-year-old Zhang Mouwei, disappeared.
For a time, the entire village began to help find the two children. The next morning, the bodies of Zhang Mourong and Zhang Mouwei were found in the Xiamatang Reservoir, about 2 miles north of Zhangjia Village.
According to the investigation report issued by the Criminal Investigation Brigade of the Public Security Bureau of Jinxian County, when the bodies of the two boys were salvaged for burial, some villagers found traces of homicide on the necks of the two boys. After investigating 61 villagers in the village house by house, the police designated Zhang Yuhuan as a "criminal suspect." The police wrote in the case report: Zhang Yuhuan "extracted and rubbed his hands constantly" when he was questioned by the police, and could not explain clearly the wounds on his hands.
On October 27, two days after the bodies of the two boys were found, Zhang Yuhuan was taken into custody for examination.
According to the defense lawyer Shang Manqing, during the interrogation, Zhang Yuhuan made six transcripts, two of which were guilty confessions.
The first guilty confession was formed on November 3, 1993. According to the interview transcript, Zhang Yuhuan stated that on the day of the incident, he saw the two victim boys playing by a pond in the village and remembered that Zhang Mourong had stolen him. When I asked his parents to discuss the oil and salt, I didn’t get a satisfactory answer, so I wanted to take the opportunity to teach him, and then he became murderous. Finally, I used it at the vegetable garden next to the pond and picked it up by the pond." The rope made of snakeskin bags strangled Zhang Mourong to death. In order to silence his mouth, Zhang Mouwei was also killed.
In the second guilty confession made on November 4 of that year, Zhang Yuhuan’s previously confessed murder site was turned into his own residence, and the tool of killing became his own “finger of an adult spun with a rope to seal the sack mouth under the eaves. Thick hemp rope", the cause of the murder was that after seeing Zhang Mourong and Zhang Mouwei pulling the soil on the eaves of the house in front of their house, they thought that Zhang Mourong had beaten his son before and fell over his house. Oil and salt, in turn, murdered the two children.
In the two guilty confessions, Zhang Yuhuan explained that the location, tools, and motives of the murder were different, but in the end, they all became the main evidence used by the police to determine Zhang Yuhuan's intentional murder.
In January 1995, the Nanchang Intermediate People's Court made a first-instance judgment on this case, determined that Zhang Yuhuan's intentional homicide case was "clear in basic facts and sufficient basic evidence" and sentenced Zhang Yuhuan to death in accordance with the law with a two-year suspension of execution.
Zhang Yuhuan appealed to the Jiangxi Higher People's Court. In March 1995, the Jiangxi Provincial Higher People's Court issued a criminal ruling, deeming that the facts of the first-instance judgment were unclear and the evidence was insufficient, it ruled to revoke the first-instance judgment and sent it back to Nanchang Intermediate People's Court for retrial.
In 2001, the Nanchang Intermediate Court upheld the original judgment in the second instance. Zhang Yuhuan appealed again, and in November of the same year, the Jiangxi Provincial Higher People's Court rejected his appeal. Zhang Yuhuan was subsequently sent to Nanchang Prison to serve his sentence.
Continued complaints for nearly 27 years
The judiciary found Zhang Yuhuan's guilty evidence mainly based on his two guilty confessions, but Zhang Yuhuan argued that the two guilty confessions were made under torture by the police and under threats of family safety.
In a petition, Zhang Yuhuan described in detail how he was tortured to extract a confession.
The judgment of the first instance showed that Zhang Yuhuan had argued in court that he was wronged and that the murder was confessed by the police officer who handled the case. However, the Nanchang Intermediate People's Court held that "Zhang Yuhuan's argument that he was wronged was purely shirking the guilt and was not accepted."
While waiting for the final judgment for six years, Zhang Yuhuan was detained in the Jinxian County Detention Center.
In 2001, Huang Guanming and Zhang Yuhuan were detained in Jinxian Detention Center together. They spent ten months in the same cell. Huang Guanming remembered that during that time, Zhang Yuhuan was very mentally burdened. He often went on a hunger strike, and slammed the door when he met someone who looked like a leader. In the detention center, Zhang Yuhuan liked to talk about his case with an educated person and let others guide him on how to write a complaint.
Huang Guanming told reporters that he once asked Zhang Yuhuan if he did it. Zhang Yuhuan said, "I would never do such a stupid thing."
During the visit, Zhang Yuhuan’s eldest brother Zhang Minqiang told Zhang Yuhuan, “If you really did it, thank God for a suspended death sentence; if you didn’t do it, you will continue to write materials to appeal!”
Zhang Minqiang said that he would bring one hundred envelopes and one hundred stamps to his brother every time he visited, and he asked his brother to write a letter to the relevant complaint unit every week. Over the years, Zhang Yuhuan himself sent at least a thousand letters, and he also sent two to three hundred letters.
In 2017, lawyers Wang Fei and Shang Manqing took over the case. In 2018, the Jiangxi Provincial Higher People's Court decided to initiate a review of the Zhang Yuhuan case. In March 2019, the Jiangxi Provincial Higher People's Court decided to retrial the Zhang Yuhuan case.
A torn apart family
Song Xiaonv recalled that when she learned that Zhang Yuhuan was identified as the murderer, she was crying and limp on the side of the road. She kept telling people around her "this is absolutely impossible": she didn't believe that her husband would kill her son for no reason. Two children next door.
In 1988, the two got married, and they had two sons in the second and third year after marriage. In her eyes, Zhang Yuhuan is a husband who can make money and take care of his family. He is accommodating and loving to himself.
After Zhang Yuhuan was identified as the murderer by the police, scolding from the victim's family and cold eyes from the villagers followed.
"After the incident, the villagers had a very bad opinion of his family, and no one wanted to interact with his family anymore," said Zhang Dingling, a villager in Zhangjia Village.
Song Xiaonv didn't dare to live in Zhangjiacun with her two sons. She and her two sons moved between her natal family and several relatives. "This family stays for two months and that one for two months, leading a kind of wandering life."
In the second half of 1994, Miss Song left her two sons to the care of her family. She went to Shenzhen alone to wash the tableware and prepare the kitchen in a restaurant in a fellow villager.
In 1999, after being introduced by her family, Xiaonv Song met her current husband. Before deciding to live with him, Xiaonv Song made two conditions with him: one is to treat her two sons unconditionally, and the other is to treat her two sons unconditionally. He couldn't stop him when he wanted to visit Zhang Yuhuan.
In 2012, Song Xiaonv and Zhang Yuhuan formally signed a divorce agreement.
"A family reunion dinner"
After the verdict yesterday, Song Xiaonv recorded a video on her mobile phone to express her gratitude to all those who helped Zhang Yuhuan.
Zhang Minqiang, who has been complaining about his brother Zhang Yuhuan's case, said that his brother was sentenced to death with a suspended death sentence at the end of 2001. Because his mother is old and his sister is married, the family can only rely on him to appeal for his brother. From 2002 to 2017, from handwriting to printing, he wrote more than a thousand letters. After the sentence was pronounced, Zhang Minqiang said he was ready to take his brother back to his hometown and reunite with his 80-year-old mother. "Today happens to be the fifteenth day of the lunar calendar. I asked my sister to prepare glutinous rice balls at home and have a family reunion dinner."
Zhang Yuhuan’s son, Zhang Baoren, said that his father was arrested when he was 4 years old. In his memory, his father never existed. He never thought about what his father looked like. Even the elementary school writing "My Father" was based on his grandmother. Things to rewrite. He said that when he saw his father, he didn't want to say anything, just wanted to give him a hug.
At about 6:30 last night, Zhang Yuhuan returned to his hometown where he had been away for nearly 27 years, dressed in red flowers, and asked "Where is mom?" before he walked into the house, there was a sound of firecrackers. The two sons opened their hands to their father one after another, muttering something in their mouths, Zhang Yuhuan's ex-wife Song Xiaonv cried excitedly. After returning home, Zhang Yuhuan saw his 80-year-old mother who had been waiting for him to return home. She didn't pick the red flowers on her body and didn't change her clothes, so she sat on the bed and chatted with her family.
There is no direct evidence that Zhang Yuhuan committed a criminal act
After the acquittal was pronounced yesterday, the relevant person in charge of the Jiangxi Higher People's Court apologized to Zhang Yuhuan on behalf of the court and informed him that he has the right to apply for state compensation. The presiding judge Tian Ganlin accepted an interview with reporters and interpreted the revised sentence.
Zhang Yuhuan cannot be found guilty in accordance with the principle of suspected crime
The presiding judge Tian Ganlin stated that the court held that the sacks and hemp ropes identified as tools for the crime in the original trial were not related to the case or Zhang Yuhuan; the original trial found that the victim scratched the back of Zhang Yuhuan’s hand and was based on the human injury inspection certificate. It proves that scratches can be formed by hand scratching and are not exclusive; the first crime scene identified in the original trial, the public security organs did not find or extract any evidence related to the case during the on-site investigation; Zhang Yuhuan’s two guilty confessions were at the location of the murder and committed the crime There are obvious contradictions in the tools, the process of committing the crime, etc., and they have not been confirmed by the physical evidence in the case. The authenticity is doubtful and cannot be used as the basis for concluding the case.
The court held that in this case, apart from Zhang Yuhuan’s guilty confession, there was no direct evidence to prove that Zhang Yuhuan committed a criminal act, and indirect evidence could not form a complete chain. The evidence on the basis of the original trial did not meet the credible and sufficient statutory standard of proof. The fact that Zhang Yuhuan was found guilty of intentional homicide was unclear and the evidence was insufficient. According to the principle of never suspected crime, Zhang Yuhuan could not be found guilty. The Jiangxi Higher People’s Court accepted the opinion that Zhang Yuhuan and his defender, and the Jiangxi Provincial People’s Procuratorate should amend Zhang Yuhuan’s innocence. Accordingly, the Jiangxi Provincial Higher People's Court made the aforementioned judgment and declared Zhang Yuhuan innocent.
The judge stated that this case does not belong to the situation where the "true culprit appears" and "the deceased returns", but a revised sentence based on the principle of suspected crime. Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the Jiangxi Court has resolutely implemented the Party Central Committee and the Supreme Court’s decision and deployment of comprehensively advancing the rule of law, resolutely correcting wrongful cases, strictly implementing the principle of never suspected crimes, and insisting on seeking truth from facts and correcting mistakes. Responsible to the law, responsible to the people, and responsible to history. One case was discovered and corrected. From "doubtful crime from existence" to "doubtful crime from nothing" is an inevitable choice for the protection of human rights and an advancement in justice. The retrial of Zhang Yuhuan’s innocence fully reflects the implementation of the principle of “no doubt” in judicial practice.
Jiangxi Higher People's Court informs Zhang Yuhuan that he can apply for state compensation
The presiding judge Tian Ganlin stated that in accordance with the "National Compensation Law of the People's Republic of China," a retrial was made in accordance with the trial supervision procedures and the sentence was not guilty. If the original sentence has been executed, the victim has the right to obtain state compensation. After the court declared Zhang Yuhuan not guilty, it has informed him that he has the right to apply for state compensation. If Zhang Yuhuan files an application for state compensation, the court will hear it in accordance with the law and make a decision as soon as possible.
During the retrial, Zhang Yuhuan and his defense lawyer filed an application to exclude illegal evidence on the grounds that Zhang Yuhuan was tortured by the public security organ to extract a confession. In the pre-trial meeting, Zhang Yuhuan and his defense lawyers both expressed obedience to the decision of the collegial panel on whether to initiate the exclusion procedure. When applying to exclude illegal evidence, relevant clues or materials shall be provided in accordance with the law. After deliberation, the collegiate panel concluded that the clues and materials provided by Zhang Yuhuan and his defense lawyer were not sufficient, and decided not to initiate the non-exclusion procedure and formed a pre-trial meeting report. During the retrial, the collegiate panel read the report of the pre-trial meeting and informed the decision not to initiate the non-exclusion procedure and the reasons. However, regarding the legality of Zhang Yuhuan's guilty confession, the collegial panel has fully listened to Zhang Yuhuan and his defense lawyer's opinions on many occasions.
■ Follow up
Lawyer: The state compensation will be launched next
Zhang Yuhuan’s defense lawyer Wang Fei said that the outcome of the case was fair, but the court did not initiate the exclusion of illegal evidence during the retrial. The further investigation of the guilty confession and the torture of the confession was what he thought was still regrettable. At the same time, he said, According to Zhang Yuhuan’s entrustment, the case-handling personnel and other judicial personnel who were tortured to extract confessions will be held accountable. At the same time, the state compensation for the Zhang Yuhuan case will also be started.
According to a reporter from the Beijing News, Zhang Yuhuan is the party who has been detained for the longest time in the case of acquittal. In recent years, there has been a gradual increase in the mental damage comfort payments for the parties in innocent cases: On January 7, 2019, the Liaoyuan Intermediate People’s Court of Jilin Province made a national compensation decision. Liu Zhonglin, who was detained innocently for 25 years, received mental damage comfort. More than 1.97 million yuan in gold. On September 6, 2019, Jin Zhehong received the State Compensation Decision from the Higher People's Court of Jilin Province. He was detained without charge for 23 years and received more than 2 million yuan for mental damage.
Beijing News reporter Zhang Shengpo Wang Weilu Zhongsheng Wu Qi