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Court upholds 30-year jail term for Gangnam murder suspect

All News 13:55 January 12, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 12 (Yonhap) -- An appeals court on Thursday confirmed a 30-year jail term for a man accused of stabbing to death a 22-year-old woman near one of the country's busiest subway stations in Seoul that sparked nationwide shock and protests.

The Seoul High Court upheld a lower court's decision and convicted the man, surnamed Kim, of stabbing the victim, whose identity was withheld, multiple times in a bathroom in a building near Gangnam Station in May last year. The victim was a complete stranger to Kim.

According to prosecutors, the 34-year-old waited for about 50 minutes for a woman to show up in the bathroom. When the victim came into the unisex restroom, Kim attacked her with a knife.

The court said it took into consideration the seriousness of the crime, the fact that it was done against a stranger and the social anxiety caused by the incident.

While acknowledging that Kim was suffering from schizophrenia, the court did not accept the defendant's claim that he was feeble-minded when he committed the crime.

Kim has a record of being hospitalized for the mental disease more than six times since 2009, according to prosecutors. Since he left the hospital for the last time in January 2016, he had not taken his medication or received treatment and had lived on the streets since March, according to prosecutors.

The case has triggered nationwide debate over crimes against women in the country. Thousands of South Korean women took to the streets after the incident, paying their respects to the victim, and voiced the need to intensify punishment for crimes targeting vulnerable members of society.

In this file photo taken on May 24, 2016, the suspect behind the brutal murder of a 22-year-old woman exits the bathroom of a karaoke bar near a subway station in Seoul's upscale Gangnam district after staging a reconstruction of the crime. The man fatally knifed the victim in the bathroom the previous week, whipping up a nationwide outpouring of mourning. (Yonhap)


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