Crossbow killer of abusive dad sentenced to life in prison

An Ottawa man convicted of killing his father with a crossbow at an east Toronto library has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years.

WARNING: Graphic details in story

Zhou Fang of Ottawa was convicted of killing his father at a Toronto library branch. (Alex Tavshunsky/CBC)

An Ottawa man convicted of killing his abusive father with a crossbow at an east Toronto library has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years.

Zhou Fang, 26, was sentenced Tuesday in Toronto by Justice John McMahon. Fang got an automatic life sentence for the murder plea, but the 10-year parole eligibility period is the minimum he could have received.

McMahon said Fang had suffered horrific abuse at the hands of his father and had post traumatic stress disorder when he travelled from Ottawa before he killed Si William Cheng, 52. 

Nevertheless, the judge described the slaying as a brutal death.

Cheng was fatally shot in the back with a bolt from a crossbow in December 2010 and then had his skull smashed with a hammer at a Toronto library branch on Main Street south of Gerrard Street East that was crowded with parents and children.

Fang, who lived in Ottawa, was arrested a few blocks away. He pleaded guilty in July to second-degree murder.

Went into hiding

During the trial, the court heard Fang was the victim of physical and psychological abuse since he was a baby.

In 1997, soon after immigrating to Vancouver from Kunming in Yunnan province in southwestern China, Fang and his mother, Nora Fang, stayed in a shelter following reports of continuous abuse by Cheng.

After the couple separated in 2002, the mother and son then went into hiding from Cheng and moved out of Toronto, said Paul R. Krumeh, Nora’s divorce lawyer, in an interview with the Canadian Press.

Krumeh also said both mother and son had obtained a restraining order against Cheng.

Cheng had two domestic violence convictions involving his family.

One of Cheng’s convictions came on May 5, 2002, when his son  — 15 at the time — witnessed his father assault his mother.

Nora Fang alleged that Cheng, who had called himself master of the family, beat her and damaged her eyesight in one eye so badly that she was unable to continue her work as a teacher. She also alleged Cheng beat her elderly mother.

In March of 2008, an Ontario Superior Court judge awarded Nora Fang spousal and child support and ownership of the family home.

Court documents also showed that Nora Fang blamed the abuse her son had suffered for his academic problems and attempted suicide.

With files from The Canadian Press