NATIONAL

Mountain-path killer had mental disorder

By Lim Jeong-yeo
  • Published : Apr 19, 2016 - 16:47
  • Updated : Apr 19, 2016 - 16:47

The 49-year-old man who murdered a trekker on a well-beaten mountain path in Gwangju had a serious case of megalomania, according to the police on Tuesday.

The killer, surnamed Kim, had wandered around a college campus and the adjacent Eodeungsan Mountain with a knife, before coming across a trekker and brutally murdering him at around 5 p.m. on Monday.

The victim was a 63-year-old man surnamed Lee who had been resting on a rock with his mobile phone.

Kim attempted to forcefully take the phone from Lee, and when Lee fell over, stabbed him nine times in his neck, chest, back and thigh. 

Kim revisited the crime scene on Tuesday. (Yonhap)
When revisiting the crime scene with the police on Tuesday, Kim had claimed that the victim had tried to alert the police with his phone to have the man locked up in jail or a psychiatric ward.

Kim asserted that the victim’s resistance had been “dangerous” and that he had bit the man’s hands to save himself.

After committing the murder, Kim tried to check the call log on Lee’s phone, but as he did not know the security code he tried keying in random numbers. When the phone suddenly connected to a police emergency hotline, he stomped on the phone, breaking it to pieces.

On his way down the mountain, Kim ran into more trekkers, whom he also threatened with a knife.

“I couldn’t trust anybody. They all looked like they wanted to kill me,” Kim said.

Kim has been taking pills for a disorder for thirty years but had stopped taking the medication since January, around the same time when he quit his job related to electric utilities.

Two days before committing the crime, Kim had visited a psychology clinic with his family. When he was recommended to be hospitalized, Kim had run away from home.

He took a 20-centimeter knife from a greenhouse near the mountain and wandered into a nearby university where he found a military uniform and changed into it.

The next morning he went to the mountain with the knife hidden in his sleeve, and encountered Lee.

The police arrested Kim within thirty minutes of his crime, after pursuing him over a 1-kilometer distance in the mountain.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (kaylalim@heraldcorp.com)