Toronto

Shou Quan Chen sentenced to life behind bars in 2nd-degree murder of Xian Xu Liu

A man charged in the death of a woman walking near a Toronto community centre five years ago has been sentenced to life in prison. 

Liu was found dead with severe injuries to her face near Wallace Emerson Community Centre in 2014

Shou Quan Chen was arrested in October 2014 in connection with the death of 65-year-old Xian Xu Liu. (CBC)

A man charged in the death of a woman walking near a Toronto community centre five years ago has been sentenced to life in prison. 

Shou Quan Chen, 70 at the time, was arrested in October 2014 in connection with the death of 65-year-old Xian Xu Liu.

On Thursday, Chen was convicted of second-degree murder, and deemed ineligible for parole until he's served at least 10 years. He is also prohibited from owning a firearm, cross-bow, restricted weapon, ammunition or explosives. In addition, he will be required to provide a DNA sample. 

Liu was found dead with severe injuries to her face near the Wallace Emerson Community Centre. Police said Chen approached her and assaulted her.

When she didn't come home after her daily walk, Liu's family came looking for her. She was pronounced dead at the scene. 

The sentencing document says "it is clear Liu was a wonderful, caring and compassionate woman, who worked hard all of her life, and selflessly devoted herself to providing a warm and nurturing home environment for her family. Her tragic and violent death has left her surviving family members filled with great sadness, depression, anger and fear."

On Thursday, Chen was was convicted of second-degree murder ineligible for parole until at least 10 years served.  (Sue Sgambati/CBC)

Court heard from Chen's children that his mental health had been deteriorating over the years and that he had no prior criminal record. 

"They also explained, however, that rather than take their father to a local medical doctor for assessment and treatment, their family decided that a better course of action was to periodically send money to some 'witchcraft lady' in China, hoping that she would be able to help," the sentencing document said. 

"This course of action was, needless to say, shockingly ill-advised ...," the document added.

Still, Justice K.L. Campbell J. concluded the murder was "only causally connected to the mental disorder," saying Chen's apology to Liu's family appeared not to be "any sincere expression of remorse" but instead a "final, desperate, tactical step" to minimize his punishment. 

"There can be no question that the unprovoked attack by Mr. Chen, on the unarmed, defenceless Ms. Liu, was one of great violence and that the accused forcefully inflicted lethal blows, multiple times, with a solid hammer-like metal instrument to the deceased's head and face. In so doing, the accused could only have intended to cause her death," the decision reads.