Pig slaughterer who cut wife to pieces faces death sentence

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The Supreme People's Court Chief Judge has appealed for a death sentence against a 41-year-old pig slaughterer who was given life in jail for killing his own wife, cutting her body to pieces and hiding them under a cesspit.


The judge said the verdict against Tran Van Ban of Khanh Hoa Province's Nha Trang Town, issued by the Da Nang Supreme People's Court in September 2010, was too lenient and demanded that the court re-open the trial.


According to the indictment, Ban was married to 36-year-old Tran Thi Hieu and the couple had three children. The couple had an argument about financial matters while they were slaughtering pigs at their house in the early morning on November 2, 2009.


Out of anger, Ban beat his wife to death with a thick stick before cutting her body into parts and burying them in a pig dung cesspool.


He then awoke his children, saying their mother had run away. Ban also used Hieu's mobile phone SIM card to text her best friend, saying that she had taken VND350 million (current US$16,730) to go to Canada with her lover.


One week later, Ban informed police in Vinh Luong Commune that Hieu was missing before running away.


However, when his 17-year-old son suffered respiratory problems, Ban called home, asking his family to cement over the cesspool's air hole as he suspected toxic gas emissions were responsible for the boy's health problems, according to the indictment.


Hieu's younger brothers then found human bones in the cesspool and called the police.


On December 31, Ban turned himself in while police were in the process of identifying the body.


In June 2010, the Khanh Hoa People's Court opened a Court of First Instance and soon issued a death sentence against Ban.


Three month later, the Da Nang Supreme People's Court opened a trial and reduced the sentence to life imprisonment, citing several reasons for lenient measure including good family records and Ban's turning himself in.


In the latest appeal, the Chief Judge is now saying that the brutality of the crime warrants the death sentence.


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