Murder trial begins in Busan

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Murder trial begins in Busan

BUSAN - The man accused of the rape and brutal murder of a 13-year-old Busan girl yesterday denied the accusations as he faced his first trial in Busan District Court.

Kim Kil-tae’s attorney said his client doesn’t remember whether he abducted, raped and killed Lee Yu-ri and dumped her in a water tank, where police found the girl’s body 11 days after she was reported missing on Feb. 24.

But in a surprise statement, Kim’s lawyer indicated the trial may hinge on the coroner’s testimony.

The attorney asked Judge Ku Nam-su to produce the forensic expert who took Lee’s autopsy as a witness, saying he wants to check the credibility of the autopsy report from the National Institute of Scientific Investigation. On March 8, that report announced that Kim’s DNA had been found in Lee’s body.

“It will take a while to verify whether the autopsy result by the National Institute of Scientific Investigation is credible or not. If it turns out that there’s no error with the result, then the other testimony will be meaningless,” the attorney said.

Kim, 33, appeared in court wearing a green prison uniform. Though he didn’t wear a mask, long bangs covered nearly half his face. During the 10-minute trial, Kim kept silent except to confirm his name and give his identification card number as part of the necessary identity check to begin the trial.

Kim’s attorney admitted that his client did steal the wallet of a barbershop owner that held 250,000 won ($225) in cash and two keys while he was on the run from police.

Kim’s attorney also responded to a separate charge that Kim beat up a 23-year-old woman surnamed Kang, locked her in a rooftop house, and raped her on Jan. 23. The attorney said Kim admits he hit the woman, but denies that he locked her in or raped her.

Kim’s second trial will be held on May 14.

By Kim Sang-jin, Kim Mi-ju []
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