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(LEAD) Prosecutors demand death penalty for adoptive mother in death of toddler

National 21:59 April 14, 2021

(ATTN: ADDS details in paras 4, 7-11)

SEOUL, April 14 (Yonhap) -- Prosecutors on Wednesday demanded the death penalty for the adoptive mother in a highly publicized child abuse case that led to the death of a 16-month-old baby girl.

Prosecutors also requested during the trial at the Seoul Southern District Court that the defendant, surnamed Jang, be ordered to wear a tracking device for 30 years and be put under a five-year probation.

For Jang's husband, who was also indicted along with her, the prosecution demanded a 7 1/2-year prison term.

Jang was indicted in December last year on charges that include abusing a child to death, and prosecutors later added a murder charge. The father was charged with child abuse and negligence.

The toddler was adopted in February last year and died in October of severe abdominal injuries and internal bleeding that were caused by "strong external force." Her adoptive mother insisted the baby sustained the injuries because she accidentally dropped her.

The case has unleashed nationwide grief and anger over child abuse. Hundreds of people have sent petitions to the court to demand justice for the girl.

"Judging by the evidence that has been secured, it appears that the defendant was indifferent to the victim's health and safety and thought that it didn't matter what happened (to the victim)," the prosecution said.

"No hospital treatment was given to the girl even after her health worsened due to the continued abuse," it said.

The prosecution also cited the defendant showing no remorse and denying the charges.

"We find that there was wilful negligence of murder," the prosecution said.

The sentencing trial for the couple is set for May 14.

Citizens and activists hold a placard showing a picture of Jung-in, a baby girl who died from months of alleged physical abuse by her adoptive mother now facing trial for murder and other charges, during a rally calling for heavy punishment for the defendant in front of the Seoul Southern District Court on April 7, 2021. (Yonhap)


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