A Chinese woman who allegedly killed seven people, including a little girl, and then spent 20 years on the lam was finally hauled before a court this week.
Lao Rongzhi appeared for the start of her trial in Nanchang Intermediate People’s Court in Jiangxi province and tearfully apologized to the families of the victims offering what little money she had in her bank account as compensation, Yahoo News reported.
The 46-year-old claimed she didn’t mean to hurt anyone but was trapped in an abusive relationship with then-boyfriend Fa Ziying who forced her into the crimes, the outlet said.
“Fa Ziying often beat me, choked me and tortured me,” Yahoo News reported citing local media. “He threatened my family if we broke up … I didn’t want to kill anyone. I just wanted to live.”
Lao added that while she was with Fa, she had four abortions and was battered by him, the outlet said, citing local news reports.
Lao — who had been living under a different name and working odd jobs for decades — was arrested in November 2019 at a mall in Xiamen where she was selling watches after a police database helped identify her as the fugitive they’d been seeking.
She is charged with murder, kidnapping and robbery for allegedly luring businessman Xiong Qiyi — who she met at a nightclub — to a rented apartment in 1996 where he was murdered. Lao and Fa then allegedly robbed his home and killed his wife and daughter, the news outlet reported.
She is also charged for her alleged involvement a year later in the murder and robbery of nightclub workers Liang Xiaochun and Liu Suqing, according to the report.
In July 1996, Lao and Fa allegedly murdered two more men in a bid to get ransom money from one of them, Yin Jianhua — another businessman that Lao met at a nightclub and allegedly lured to his death, the outlet reported.
In July 1999, Fa was executed for murder, kidnapping and robbery after he was caught trying to collect ransom money from Yin’s wife, who managed to call the cops when the duo thought she was getting the cash, the news site reported.
Yin was found dead in an apartment after a neighbor reported a smell, but it was unclear if he was murdered or starved, since Fa repeatedly changed his story to the cops, the outlet reported.
Fa — who met Lao in 1993 when she was a elementary school teacher — helped Lao evade capture after lying to cops when he was arrested.
The widow of another victim, carpenter Lu Zhongmin, was in the courtroom Monday, Yahoo News reported.
The widow’s lawyer, Liu Jingjie, told the courtroom that the carpenter’s “mother cried so much that she went blind.
“The murders changed the destiny of the family. The three children were all very bright but none could finish their school,” the lawyer said, according to Yahoo News.