A man who bludgeoned and dismembered his former lover was sentenced to life in prison Thursday by a Brampton judge who called the “graphic, horrific murder” one of the most difficult cases he has ever presided over.
Addressing Chunqi Jiang directly, Superior Court Justice Leonard Ricchetti said his reasons for sentence “failed miserably” to capture the Scarborough man’s brutality.
Jiang struck Guang Hua Liu 31 times in the head with an object consistent with a hatchet or cleaver, before dismembering her body and dumping her remains around the GTA.
Jiang and Liu had been in an on-again, off-again romantic relationship for about four years. She ended it a few months before her murder and moved in with another man, which the judge found was Jiang’s motive for the killing.
“Mr. Jiang, I can tell you this. I have heard a lot of cases in the years that I’ve been on the bench. This was one, if not the most, of the most difficult one to hear,” Ricchetti said Thursday as Jiang listened to a translation of the judge’s solemn words.
“This was a graphic, horrific murder of a young woman for no good reason. You have taken her life, impacted the lives of others, including now yours.”
A jury found Jiang guilty last month of second-degree murder, which carries an automatic life sentence. It was the second time Jiang was tried and convicted of the crime.
In 2014, a different jury also found him guilty of second-degree murder for killing Liu in the basement of his home on Aug. 10, 2012.
Last December, the Ontario Court of Appeal ordered a new trial after finding the Crown failed to disclose to the defence relevant medical records about Jiang’s mother’s health until halfway through his cross-examination.
After the murder, Jiang tried to frame Liu’s new boyfriend. He also testified during the trial that his mother, who died shortly after the murder, had killed Liu and he was trying to help her by disposing of Liu’s body parts. The jury rejected this evidence.
In his written reasons for sentence, Ricchetti wrote that domestic violence happens all too often.
“Persons should not be fearful of physical violence or life-ending consequences if they choose to end a relationship.”
The only issue for the judge to decide was when Jiang would first be eligible for parole, at between 10 and 25 years.
Prosecutors asked for an 18-year parole ineligibility period. The defence sought a 15-year period. Ricchetti said he agreed with the previous trial judge that an 18 years was appropriate.
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“It is hard to imagine a more gruesome and grisly murder of a former partner; the dismemberment; the extent and lengths to cover up the crime; attempts to incriminate innocent persons; and the disposal of body parts in public places throughout the GTA,” the judge wrote in his 18-page decision.
The judge added the only mitigating factors in the case was that Jiang had no criminal record or evidence of prior violence.