Elderly woman handed life sentence in soda pop murder

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Elderly woman handed life sentence in soda pop murder


A local court on Friday sentenced an 82-year-old woman to life in prison after she was convicted on charges of murdering two elderly neighbors and injuring four others with a poisoned bottle of soda.

The Daegu District Court accepted most of the claims by the prosecutors against the defendant, surnamed Park, who they argued mixed pesticide into a bottle of soda on July 14, at a community center in Sangju, North Gyeongsang, with the intention to kill six of her peers.

Of them, two women, 82 and 89 years old, later died.

“The defendant made the local community collapse because of her actions, which took away precious lives,” the court said in its deliberation.

The court’s decision was in line with prosecutors’ earlier demand that Park be jailed indefinitely, citing the brutal nature of her crime and her lack of remorse.

“This is a case that has thrown up questions about the value of life,” a prosecutor said in closing arguments, adding that Park had denied the charges despite damning evidence against her and showed no remorse.

She is believed to have planned and carried out the murder on July 14, after growing disgruntled with six of her elderly neighbors over the Korean card game hwatu.

The 82-year-old’s defense team on Friday refuted the charges and argued that the evidence was circumstantial.

“In this case, there is not a single piece of direct evidence [to hold the defendant accountable for the killings],” the defense read in its closing arguments. “All the evidence presented is indirect and full of reasonable doubt.”

Park’s lawyer added that the case lacked any clear motive.

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


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

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