Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Chinese ‘Cannibal Monster’ Sentenced to Death

Victims of Zhang Yongming

Victims of Zhang Yongming

Chinese serial killer Zhang Yongming was sentenced to death last week for the second time in his life. Yongming, 56, was found guilty of strangling 11 boys and men to death between 2008 and 2012 in southwest China’s Yunnan province. A suspect in as many as 20 murders, Yongming dismembered, ate, burned and buried his victims’ remains. He was known as the “cannibal monster” in his village of Nanmen for the garbage bags left hanging outside his home that contained what looked like human bones. What Yongming didn’t destroy or eat himself he reportedly fed to his dog or butchered and sold at the local market to the unsuspecting. Yongming was not arrested until May 2012. At the time police reportedly discovered human eyeballs preserved inside wine bottles and pieces of human flesh hanging in his home.

As surprised as police must have been, Yongming was no stranger to law enforcement. He had already received a death sentence for intentional murder in 1979, but his sentence was reduced, and he was released in 1997. Yongming was given a piece of land and subsistence wages by the government, but it wasn’t enough to keep him on the straight and narrow. The official Xinhua news agency reported that 12 local police officers were disciplined or fired for ignoring the increasing number of missing person reports … and the eerie green garbage bags … and all the local chatter. In court he reportedly showed no remorse, and would not apologize to the victims’ families.

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