BEIJING – A Chinese court sentenced a junk dealer to death Monday for murdering eight people, among them a widow who jilted him and her 2-year-old grandson slain with an ax, state media reported.
The Intermediate People's Court in the central city of Suizhou ordered Xiong Zhenlin be put to death after a half-day trial, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
Previous Xinhua accounts said that Xiong, a 32-year-old junkyard owner, had confessed to the killings after he was arrested Jan. 11. All death penalties are supposed to be reviewed by the Supreme People's Court in Beijing before being carried out.
Xiong had wanted to marry 43-year-old Zhu Deqing, but after she refused, he killed her and the boy at their home in Luoyang town, outside Suizhou. Police said their head wounds suggested that the killer used an ax.
Police discovered six other bodies — three men and three women — after searching Xiong's junkyard. The six, between the ages of 45 and 69, were employees at his salvage operation, but it wasn't clear when they had been killed. Investigators found bloodstained axes and hammers on the premises.
Although private gun ownership is virtually banned, violent crimes have become more common in China in recent years, including scattered cases of revenge attacks.