Slayer of sisters in Ulsan receives death sentence

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Slayer of sisters in Ulsan receives death sentence

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The mother of two sisters who were brutally stabbed by 25-year-old Kim Hong-il, ex-boyfriend of one sister, react to the death sentence handed down at the Ulsan District Court yesterday. [YONHAP]

A court yesterday handed down a death sentence to Kim Hong-il, 25, who brutally murdered his ex-girlfriend and her sister in Ulsan last year.

The Ulsan District Court headed by Senior Judge Seong Geum-seok sentenced Kim to be executed.

A crowd in the court, which included relatives of the murdered sisters, cheered the sentence and gave judges a standing ovation.

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“We couldn’t see signs of sincere penitence in the suspect,” Judge Seong said in the ruling. “He took two sisters’ precious lives in three minutes and 20 seconds. He systematically planned the murder and was able to put the plan into action because he had a strong will to kill.

“There is a possibility the suspect might turn into a better person in the future,” the judge continued, “but the essence of the crime was so bad that giving him a death sentence is the way to protect good people from such crimes.”

Although the death penalty is still imposed in Korea, there has not been an execution since 1997.

At 3 a.m. on July 20, 2012, Kim broke into the apartment in Jung District, Ulsan of his 27-year-old ex-girlfriend by climbing along an exterior gas pipe. He fatally stabbed her 23-year-old sister in the neck with a knife he purchased a day earlier.

Kim fled the scene but came back in less than five minutes when the older sister, his ex-girlfriend, was calling the 119 emergency number. He fatally stabbed her 12 times.

The girlfriend had sent him a text message saying she wanted to end the relationship about one week before.

Kim was caught by the police in September in Gijang County, South Gyeongsang, after a 75-year-old told police he saw Kim sleeping covered in gunnysacks on Hambak Mountain. He confessed to killing the sisters out of an uncontrollable rage.

The court said Kim has submitted many letters of apology to judges, but they doubt his sincerity.

“When his family visited the suspect, they never scolded him and only talked about how he should live after getting released from prison,” the court said. “The court didn’t see repentance.”

The family of the sisters submitted petitions from 30 people calling for the death penalty for Kim and 30,000 signatures collected from all over the country including Seoul, Busan, Gunsan, North Jeolla and Cheongju, North Chungcheong.

“We truly thank to the court for making the right decision,” said Mr. Park, father of the victims.

By We Sung-wook, Kwon Sang-soo [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]



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