SEOUL, April 14 (Yonhap) -- The Supreme Court on Thursday finalized a life sentence for a man charged with stalking a woman he befriended online and killing her, her sister and mother in one of the country's most appalling stalking cases.
Kim Tae-hyun, 26, was charged with murdering the woman he met in an online game, along with the two members of her family, at their home in northern Seoul in March last year.
As she cut communication with him over his repeated stalking, Kim disguised himself as a deliveryman to enter her home and killed her younger sister who was at home alone. He waited for the other two victims to arrive and later stabbed them to death, according to probe records.
Prosecutors had sought the death penalty in the two previous rulings by lower courts, charging him of premeditating the killings of all the three. Kim had argued that the killing of the game mate was premeditated.
The Seoul High Court had said in an appellate ruling in January that Kim deserves capital punishment but did not deliver the sentence on the grounds that the death penalty no longer has practical effect in the country as it has not executed it for the past 25 years.
But the appellate court insisted Kim should remain in "permanent isolation to repent for the rest of his life" without a chance for parole.
The life sentence by the Supreme Court on Thursday is the same as those sentenced by the two lower courts. The top court also retained an order to wear an electronic monitoring device for 30 years, rejecting both of the appeals filed by Kim and the prosecution against the appellate ruling.
"In light of the circumstances, such as the motivation of the crime as well as Kim's behavior after committing the crime, the appellate court's upholding of the life sentence cannot be deemed too unjust," a top court judge said.
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