NANPING, Fujian - A former community doctor was sentenced to death on a rainy Thursday for murdering eight primary school children last month in East China's Fujian province.
Zheng Minsheng, 41, admitted in court that he "intentionally" killed the children at the gate of the Nanping Experimental Elementary School on March 23.
The hearing at the Intermediate People's Court of Nanping began at 8 am and ended around noon.
A death sentence was announced in court, but Zheng immediately said he would appeal.
During the trial, prosecutors from the Nanping People's Procuratorate played 15 video clips, totaling 55 seconds of footage, showing Zheng stabbing children with a knife as they arrived at the school.
Other evidence, including the knife, the bloodstained clothes and schoolbags of the victims, was also presented in court.
"I'm willing to shoulder the responsibility for what I did, but only for 30 percent," Zheng said in court.
"The other 70 percent should go to the woman who dumped me," he said, adding that he just wanted an ordinary life like others, but failed.
Prosecutors said Zheng, who is not married, had been unsuccessful in relations with women, his family and in his career, so he felt life was meaningless.
The middle-aged man, considered a loner by others, appeared agitated in court, where he repeatedly told judges that he had been turned down by a woman and suffered unfair treatment from her wealthy family, which prompted him to carry out the attack.
He said the judge should pay more attention to what prompted him to commit the crime, rather than to the crime itself.
Families of the victims attended the trial and expressed their anger afterwards.
The mother of Zhang Xueqin, a child who is still under observation in a hospital's intensive care unit, could not help sobbing in court.
"Where's his remorse?" she asked. "He deserves death."
Some other parents did not show up in court to avoid seeing the video clips of the school killings.
About 100 people, including 50 reporters from across the country, attended the hearing on Thursday. Outside the court, more than 100 people waited in the rain for the verdict.
Following Zheng's arrest, police said their investigations showed he carried out the attack because he felt frustrated after breaking up with his girlfriend and found life meaningless.
Zheng had no history of mental illness, according to police, citing the results of psychiatric assessments.
Four of the five injured children have been moved out of intensive care and are now receiving rehabilitation, while the worst injured child remains there, according to doctors at the No 1 Hospital of Nanping, where the children were treated.
Families of the eight students killed have each received more than 260,000 yuan ($38,100) in compensation from the government in an effort to console them for the loss of their child, local authorities said on Thursday.
Each family also received 12,000 yuan from education authorities, the women's federation, the youth league and Nanping Experimental Elementary School, said a spokesman for the Nanping city government.
"We also expect a formal apology from the school authority and the local government," said a victim's father, who declined to be named.
"Up until now, they have not done that. Instead, they kept emphasizing the accident actually happened outside the school," he noted.
At the school, efforts have been made to improve the security on and around the campus.
Classes went on as usual on Thursday, with few children absent from the school where psychologists had been sent to help traumatized students overcome their ordeal.
Mental health therapists are reaching out to families of the deceased to help provide consolation, according to the local authority.
Life is also difficult for Zheng's family. They probably moved after the killing, said neighbors in the community where Zheng and his family had lived.