State asks for life in the soda pop murder case

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State asks for life in the soda pop murder case

Prosecutors on Friday sought a life sentence for an 82-year-old defendant accused of murdering two elderly neighbors and injuring four others with a poisoned bottle of soda.

At a trial in the Daegu District Court, the prosecutors asked that the defendant, surnamed Park, be jailed indefinitely, citing the brutal nature of her alleged crime and her lack of remorse.

“This is a case that has thrown up questions about the value of life,” a prosecutor said in a closing argument, adding that the defendant has denied charges despite damning evidence that proves her guilt and has shown zero remorse.

The so-called poison soda case began when two elderly women died and four fell sick after drinking soda laced with pesticide at a community hall in the southeastern city of Sangju, North Gyeongsang, in July. Park was suspected to have mixed pesticide into a bottle of soda at the community hall with the intention of killing her neighbors on July 14 after growing disgruntled with them over the Korean card game hwatu.

Six women who drank the soft drink fell unconscious, and two women, 82 years old and 89 years old, later died.

Park’s defense team refuted the charges during the Friday trial, claiming all the evidence presented by the prosecutors was circumstantial.

“In this case, there is not a single piece of direct evidence [to hold Park accountable for the killings],” the defense claimed in a closing argument. “Instead, all the evidence presented is indirect and full of reasonable doubt.” Park’s lawyer added that the defendant had no motive for the alleged killings.

The court was to deliver a verdict later on Friday after press time.

The soda pop murder case attracted wide public attention given the age of the victims and defendant, and the fact that it took place in a seemingly peaceful, small farming village.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]

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