Bo Xilai, the disgraced politician in China, listened as his wife received a suspended death sentence of two years for murdering British businessman Neil Heywood. On Monday, the court ruled that the 52-year old Gu Kailai had prepared a cyanide hydrochloride solution and poisoned Heywood inside a Chongqing hotel room in November of last year.
A spokesperson for the People’s Court in Hefei, where the trial was held, said Gu’s crime was enormous and the result of it was severe. She played a major part and should receive the death sentence, continued the spokesperson. However, the spokesperson said the court decided to suspend the sentence in light of the mental state of Gu, her admitting to the crime, her remorse and for her cooperation in the investigation.
Gu must now serve at least 14 years behind bars. Her death sentence will likely be commuted to just life in prison following two years of good behavior and with continued good behavior, her sentence could be reduced even further.
Gu has also had her political rights stripped including her freedom of expression. Her aide, Zhang Xiaojun received a sentence of nine years for helping to carry out the crime.
Gu admitted to the crime and accepted the version of the facts the prosecution presented in the trial of just seven hours length on August 9. She claimed a mental breakdown in November of last year caused her to believe that Heywood wanted to harm or kill her son due to a property deal that had gone bad.