The suspect (in white) and the victim’s father (R) at the court
A 19-year-old from the Haidian district of Beijing pleaded guilty in court on charges of manslaughter after accidentally killing a five-year-old boy with drinks he’d contaminated.
The teenager, surnamed Pan, appeared at the Haidian People’s Court of Beijing on April 2 and admitted to tainting a 20-pack of almond milk with 20 grams of nitrate. He then gave the drinks to his step-grandmother, who stopped drinking the pack after one of the drinks made her feel ill.
The drinks were later picked up by a garbage collector surnamed Li, who drank one herself then offered three more to her friends and their child, five-year-old Xiao Zheng. Li was later sent to the hospital with symptoms of poisoning, and Xiao Zheng died from drinking a full carton, Legal Evening News reports.
Pan had been living in a 60-square-meter apartment with his parents, grandfather and step-grandmother since he was born. Both his parents are disabled, and were unable to afford a place on their own, so they moved in with Pan’s grandfather, who owns the apartment. Space was so tight that Pan had to share a bed with his parents until he was 19.
When he was in eight grade, Pan’s father told him that his grandmother wanted them to move out. That was also when he learned that the woman was not related to his father by birth. Pan feared that when his grandfather died, she would take over the apartment.
In 2013, he purchased 500 grams of nitrate from a chemical company and injected it into 20 cartons of his grandmother’s favorite almond milk drink with the intention to kill her. He said there was no real problems between them, but was looking forward to having ‘more room of his own’.
After one of the drinks made her feel sick and she refused to drink more, Pan began pouring them out slowly over time, as to not make anyone suspicious, or so he claimed in court.
His mother unknowingly took the remaining drinks out to the trash one day, leading to Li finding them. Pan turned himself in after police found surveillance footage of her dropping the drinks off outside.
His trial will commence on April 1, according to the Haidian People’s Court.
By Lily Lin