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Prosecutors reopen 1980s murder case

Prosecutors said Thursday they will investigate the rape and murder of a 13-year-old girl from over 30 years ago after a man -- 53-year-old surnamed Yun -- convicted of the crime pleaded his innocence last month.

The Suwon District Prosecutors’ Office has formed a task force to find the real killer, as well as to get to the bottom of allegations of wrongdoings by past investigative agencies.

The prosecutors said they opened the probe upon request from Yun’s defense team, who alleged investigators at the time tortured him for a false confession.

Suwon District Prosecutors` Office information officer speaks during press briefing Thursday. (Yonhap)
Suwon District Prosecutors` Office information officer speaks during press briefing Thursday. (Yonhap)

In a Nov. 30 interview with The Korea Herald, Yun said he was subject to round-the-clock interrogation for three consecutive days. He said he was deprived of sleep, forced to do squat jumps despite a weak left leg and told he would be given the death sentence unless he confessed.

Yun served 19 1/2 years of the life term he was handed before being released on parole in 2009.

He was convicted for what is regarded as the eighth crime in the Hwaseong case, a series of 10 rapes and murders that took place in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, from 1986 to 1991.

He was the only man to be prosecuted in the serial killings, with the rest of the crimes remaining unsolved.

This changed when Lee Chun-jae, who is already serving a life sentence for the 1994 rape and murder of his sister-in-law, was officially identified in September as the Hwaseong case’s prime suspect in DNA testing. In ensuing meetings with Gyeonggi Police profilers, Lee suggested Yun had been wrongly convicted in the crime he had committed.

After news of Lee’s confession broke, Yun filed a motion for a new trial at Suwon District Court last month to overturn the conviction.

The court has ordered district prosecutors to submit their opinion on granting Yun a new trial.

In reviewing the probe records, prosecutors said they have found instances of possible flaws in the past investigation. The prosecutors are expected to submit their opinion on a new trial by the end of the month, information officer at the district prosecutors’ office Hwang Sung-yun told The Korea Herald.

Lee, who was in Busan Prison, has been moved to a detention center in Suwon for prosecution questioning.

By Kim Arin (