A total of 177 students and one professor from Shanghai’s Fudan University signed a petition calling on Shanghai Higher People’s Court not to execute the former graduate student who was convicted of poisoning his roommate last year and sentenced to death in February.
The Global Times relays that the petition asked the court to grant the the postgraduate medical student, Lin Senhao, a reprieve on his death sentence so that he could atone for his crime.
Lin, 28, was arrested in April last year when his roommate, Huang Yang, fell ill after drinking from a water dispenser in his dorm room then died several days later due to organ failure caused by poisoning.
Lin admitted that he’d stolen a toxic chemical from a hospital lab and put it in the water, but insisted that it was just “an April Fool’s joke” gone wrong.
Lin was found guilty of intentional homicide and sentenced to death by Shanghai No.2 Intermediate People’s court on February 18. His lawyer filed an appeal several days later, although the court has not yet handled it.
The petition agreed that Lin should be punished, but asked the court to be lenient because Lin was known to be charitable and caring. Students who created the petition insisted that Lin wash not a ruthless killer.
When a court hands out death sentences with reprieves, in usually amounts to a life’s sentence in prison. A criminal law professor at the China University of Political Science and Law said the petition will likely not have much affect on the court when it rules on the appeal because of the severity of the charge.