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The Court Cries Together

Posted August. 24, 2005 03:01,   


On August 23, at a trial court in an appeal case at the Seoul High Court.

Ms. Kim (58, female), accused of helping her paraplegic husband to commit suicide, stood weeping as a defendant.

Mr. Park, Kim’s husband (aged 63 at the time of death), had lived for 30 years in a wheelchair since developing myelitis and becoming paralyzed below the waist.

As a result, Kim ran a wheeled stall instead of her husband, worked as a cleaner at buildings, and did whatever she could to support her family. Even under such difficult conditions, Kim sent her three children to college. Her last son graduated from Seoul National University and is working at a conglomerate research center.

Park attempted to kill himself in 1995 in order not to burden his family. However, he failed in the attempt and suffered from the effects.

Park, who had been distressed as he felt sorry for his family, drank lye at home in late March.

At that point, he begged his wife, who just arrived home from work, to help him die, saying, “I’m not dead yet even after taking this poison. Help me die.” At that, Kim killed him by strangling him with a bandage tied around his neck.

Right after his death, she called her sister-in-law who lives nearby and said that her husband was dead when she came home from walk. She disguised his death as a suicide. However, her crime was revealed as a morgue worker found a scar on his neck while shrouding the corpse and notified this suspicious discovery to the police.

During a police investigation, Kim confessed that when she came home from work, her husband drank toxic chemicals again and begged her to kill him, so she did it in the spur of the moment.

Kim’s family and relatives pleaded for leniency to the court, asserting that Kim looked after him heartily for the last 30 years, even taking care of her husband’s urine and feces and going for walks with her husband in a wheelchair at night.

The court said in a ruling that from the autopsy results, the direct cause of death was the lye he drank and based on the fact that the defendant devoted herself to her family, the prosecution’s claim that she induced him to take poison was not persuasive.

The court added that she didn’t report her crime actively rather than concealing her offense after committing the crime. Therefore, the court awarded leniency by sentencing her to three years in prison and five years of probation as the original judgment.

After the ruling, Kim’s children hugged her and sobbed saying, “Mom, it’s ok now. Don’t cry.”