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[Newsmaker] Appellate court affirms life sentence for woman in murder of ex-husband

Koh Yu-jeong (Yonhap)
Koh Yu-jeong (Yonhap)

JEJU -- An appellate court on Wednesday upheld a lower court's sentence of life imprisonment for a South Korean woman for brutally killing her former husband, mutilating his body and hiding the dismembered body parts.

The Gwangju High Court's Jeju branch handed down the life sentence to Koh Yu-jeong, saying a hefty sentence is inevitable because she has persistently denied her crime and showed no remorse or sympathy for her victim.

The 37-year-old Koh was indicted for allegedly killing her ex-husband, surnamed Kang, at a pension on the southern resort island of Jeju in May last year, mutilating his body and disposing of the dismembered body parts in the sea and elsewhere.

She was also indicted on separate charges of having suffocated her current husband's five-year-old son to death at their home in Cheongju, 120 kilometers south of Seoul, two months earlier. Koh has argued that the killing of her ex-husband was not premeditated, while denying having killed her stepson.

In February this year, the Jeju District Court sentenced Koh to life imprisonment on charges of murdering Kang and destroying his body but acquitted her of the charge of killing her stepson after refusing to recognize evidence presented by the prosecution.

The appellate court said it decided to issue the same sentence to Koh as did the lower court in light of the grave infringement of the right of life, cruel methods of crimes and suffering of the bereaved family.

"Koh lured her former husband over her visitation rights for their son and fed him Zolpidem (sleeping pills) before mutilating his body and hiding the body parts. Nevertheless, the accused has persistently denied her crimes by insisting that she accidentally committed the killing in the process of preventing the victim from raping her," the court said.

The high court also said it decided to affirm the lower court's acquittal of Koh of the charge of killing her stepson due to lack of evidence.

Koh remained calm throughout the court hearing with her head down. (Yonhap)