Man gets 13 years for 'murder without corpse'
By Na Jeong-ju
In September last year, police received a shocking report from a middle-aged woman that her boyfriend, a 41-year-old construction worker, murdered his colleague in 2008 by burying him alive.
Police immediately arrested the suspect, surnamed Park. Following days of interrogation, he confessed to the killing and said that the body was buried under a vineyard in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province.
Police dug up the site, but failed to discover the corpse. They later realized that Park had lied about the burial site.
Park later reversed his earlier confession to claim that he didn’t commit the murder. However, the prosecution indicted him on charges of homicide after obtaining circumstantial evidence.
His case, referred to as the “murder without a corpse,” was tried under the jury system, introduced in 2008.
During court hearings, Park claimed that the confession was coerced by detectives and that he was beaten and verbally abused during interrogations.
But the nine-member jury didn’t believe him. On Wednesday, it found him guilty of murder, and the Seoul Central District Court handed down a 13-year prison sentence.
According to the prosecution, Park had motives for the murder. He borrowed some 12 million won from the colleague, identified as Cho, in 2007, but didn’t pay it back. They were frequently seen quarrelling over the money by other coworkers.
After Cho was reported missing, Park bought a car using Cho’s credit card and sold it two weeks later. When police apprehended him, he was found to have bought a one-way airline ticket to China.
Police also reported that Park burnt Cho’s clothes which were left in the trunk of his car.
“He was preparing to flee to China, but he told detectives that the purpose of his trip was to start an illegal business — issuing illegal visas to ethnic Koreans who want to come to Korea,” a prosecutor said.
Park’s lawyer said he will appeal.