(CNN)A Chinese court made a rare move to calm public outrage this week over a controversial murder case involving a young woman killed by her husband and in-laws.
The 22-year-old Chinese woman had only been married for six months when her husband and in-laws beat her to death, because she had been unable to conceive a child, according to state-run news agency Xinhua.
The woman, identified by court documents only by her surname Fang, was from China's eastern Shandong province. She died on January 31, 2019, according to the Xinhua report.
Yucheng People's Court in Shandong heard the woman's husband and in-laws abused her, denied her food, and left her outside in freezing temperatures in winter as a form of punishment.
In January, they were found guilty of abuse, a charge applied when the alleged perpetrators are family members. It carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.
Fang's husband and his parents were later sentenced to between two and three years in prison. The court had decided to grant a more lenient punishment because "each defendant was able to truthfully confess the relevant facts of the crime, which constituted a confession, and showed repentance," according to the verdict, published by state-run newspaper People's Daily.
The sentences prompted nationwide outcry and discussion about broader societal problems surrounding women and violence. A retrial was ordered in April but it failed to calm public criticism.