NATIONAL

[Newsmaker] Chaos at court as murder suspect claims self-defense

By Kim Arin
  • Published : Aug 12, 2019 - 15:49
  • Updated : Aug 13, 2019 - 19:49

Koh Yu-jeong, suspected of murdering her former husband, attended her first trial before a crowd of jeering spectators Monday.

During the trial at Jeju District Court, which started at 10 a.m., Koh maintained that she had acted in self-defense against a rape attempt by her ex-husband, identified only by his surname Kang.

Koh’s attorney said that Kang attempted “unwanted physical contact” with Koh during the divorced couple’s meeting with their son, “expecting the defendant to comply with his request for sex.” 


A courtroom spectator grabs Koh Yu-jeong by the hair as she walks out of the Jeju District Court on the first day of her trial Monday morning. (Yonhap)

“The tragedy is rooted in this excessive sexual demand from highly-sexed Kang, which went unmet,” he said, adding her act had been without intent and not premeditated.

“If the defendant had the intention of murder, she would not have exposed herself on closed-circuit TV.”

The attorney also claimed the zolpidem police found in blood at the scene belonged to Koh, denying previously raised accusations that she had drugged Kang before killing him.

Kang’s attorney, on the other hand, said the defendant’s claims “crossed the line” and “dishonored the deceased.”

Koh, wearing pale green prison garb, kept her head down throughout the proceedings.

Court officials tried to hold back courtroom spectators as they booed and heckled, “Show us your face,” “Murderer,” “Disgusting lies.”

When the judges asked Koh if she wanted a jury trial, she replied she did not.

Monday’s trial marked Koh’s first public appearance in about two months after her case was sent to prosecutors on June 12.

The court only admitted public observers with a pass, handed out in order of arrival, to observe trial over a case which drew nationwide attention.

Those who were denied admission due to the limited number of passes protested, and demanded the trial be held with the doors of the courtroom open. Some said they had come to Jeju from the mainland just to see Koh’s trial.

As Koh walked out of the district court, she was grabbed by the hair by one of the spectators and had to be separated from the crowd by officials.

Koh is accused of murdering Kang at a vacation rental home in Jocheon, 20 kilometers outside Jeju City, between 8:10 p.m. and 9:50 p.m. on May 25, and dismembering and disposing of his body over the following week.

The next trial is slated for 2 p.m. on Sept. 2.

By Kim Arin (arin@heraldcorp.com