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Court says killing a threatening husband is not self-defense

Just because a drunk husband threatened to kill his wife does not necessarily mean the wife choking the husband to death can be considered as “self-defense,” South Korea’s Supreme Court said Sunday.

The high court decision confirmed the previous rulings of the lower courts in 2015 that a women who chocked her ex-husband to death after he threatened her with a knife earlier that night, was not self-defense, sentencing her to two years in prison. 

(Herald DB)
(Herald DB)
The 44-year-old woman, known only by her surname Cho, was accused of strangling her ex-husband to death with a tie in June 2015, after he allegedly threatened to kill her with a kitchen knife after he came home late, intoxicated.

Then-58-year-old ex-husband, Moon, reportedly brandished the knife aiming it at Cho’s throat, while Cho knocked it away with a wooden pestle.

He then tripped over a bottle of liquor on the floor and fell and Cho started beating him in the head with the pestle.

After two hours, she reportedly got a tie and chocked him to death with it, saying to her children “we will get revenge once he wakes up.”

Although the Supreme Court admitted that the defendant had been experiencing domestic violence, it ruled that the killing is not self-defense since the deadly incident happened two hours after Moon brandished the knife. Moon, after he fell to the floor, offered little or no resistance to the defendant, the court said.

In order to prove self-defense, there must be serious bodily harm which could have only been prevented by the use of force, the court explained.

By Bak Se-hwan (