An 18-year old high school student in Seoul, identified only as ‘Ji’, was arrested in November 2011 for killing his mother, Park, and hiding her body for over 8 months in the family home. Ji told the police he killed her because of her ‘incessant physical and mental abuse’ towards him due to her obsession with him getting into Seoul National University, widely considered the most prestigious university in Korea.
If he did not do well on his exams, she would deny him food or force him to stay up all night studying. The night before the crime, Ji testified that his mother beat him for ten hours with a golf club and a baseball bat, made him do push-ups, and went to sleep in the morning when she finally grew tired. She was murdered in her sleep by Ji shortly afterwards.
Ji’s father had left the family five years earlier, but suddenly showed up one day to visit his son. The father became suspicious when Ji would not let him enter one of the rooms, and called the police, who came to the house. Once police arrived at the scene, Ji confessed, and later told them he suffered from nightmares involving his mother.
Ji is currently on trial.
Son Who Killed Mother Says ‘I Miss Mum’ For The First Time
‘I’m sorry for what I did to my mother. I miss her, and I don’t know what I was thinking…when I think about that nightmarish day it’s all a blur now. I have many good memories of her. I will become a son that she would not be embarrassed about, so she can smile at me from heaven.’
Ji (age 19, the suspect), wearing black-rimmed glasses, spoke these words on August 21st in Seoul High Court #505, while uncontrollably weeping. Ji had fatally stabbed his mother last March, who had forced him to do all-nighters. He had kept the mother’s body in their home for 8 months until he was caught by the police.
Today he said for the first time [since the murder] ‘I miss my mother.’ The hearing (presided over by Chief Justice Cho Kyung-ran), which was open to the family, was attended by the boy’s father and paternal aunt, who were seen crying.
Ji was initially sentenced to a prison term of 3 years by the Seoul Eastern District Court in his first trial (which was open to the public) last March, which was later amended to 3 years and 6 months. He testified that his mother had regularly forced him to study all night without eating or sleeping and would beat him with a golf club. The judge and jury took these revelations into account and concluded that he was in a physically and mentally weak state at the time of the incident. Ji could have faced more than 7 years in jail for matricide with a deadly weapon.
Both Ji’s defence and the prosecution appealed for an open trial over the point of contention that [Ji’s mother] ‘hit him over 200 times that night with a 7-iron golf club’, which Ji gave in a sworn statement. The prosecution stated, ‘If she had hit him over 200 times, it would have killed him,’ saying that they did not believe Ji’s story. Ji’s defense responded with, ‘We will directly show you in court [that it is possible to survive].’ Ji’s friend also claimed that he/she saw the marks that were left by the golf club, saying that he/she thinks the bruises need to be seen on television.
Ji’s legal counsel, led by lawyer Lee Myung-sook, has proposed that surgeons, orthopedic surgeons and other experts in physiology testify in the case. A specialist at Seoul National University Hospital gave the opinion that, ‘Injuries sustained to both of his buttocks were caused by a strong external shock and had discolored the skin. There is a coin-shaped scar on his left buttock.’ A year and five months has passed since the incident occurred but Ji’s legal team says that the scars are proof of the abuse he suffered.
The prosecution countered with, ‘Ji’s mother was no different than any other mother who is stern with her child – and the fact that he stabbed her to death in her sleep shows his depravity and lack of empathy,’ recommending a 15-year sentence for him. Ji’s lawyer, Lee, replied, ‘He was constantly being hit with a golf club, and his neighbours and teachers seemed not to care. Those who condone domestic violence in our society are accomplices. Victims of domestic violence are often cautious to turn against their wrongdoers. You are effectively saying to Ji, ‘I’m not going to consider a correlation between the abuse and your mother’s death, but I want to destroy your life anyway.’ Ask yourselves if this is the right judgment to base your decision on sending this man to prison for the rest of his life.’
Comments from Naver:
He’s still just a kid…I can’t even imagine how much agony he feels and has to live with every day. You shouldn’t be murdering people, of course, but I think his mother, too, was a bad parent. She didn’t raise him well and is responsible for him turning out the way he did.
A normal parent does not hit their child 200 times, and a normal child does not kill his parents. If you exhibit unusual behavior to your child, he will act unusually himself.
I used to get beaten as a child as well; sometimes I would get hit over a hundred times so I believe this could happen. Now that I’m in my 20s they can’t hit me anymore but getting hit over 200 times [and surviving] can happen. My father would beat me when he came home or when he drank; there were a few times I wished I could kill him but never actually went through with it.
It makes me so angry when I hear of parents like this who take it too far…our country has gradually become more and more obsessed with education…and when you see all the stories about [student] suicides that come out, it’s heartbreaking. Parents should focus on making their children happy…they should have known as parents that that is the wrong kind of home environment to raise a child in.
When I too was young, I was mistreated by my real father, and my stepfather and older brother sexually abused me. So I abhor domestic violence and cannot tolerate physical punishment. While this abused teenager needs to be sentenced, his neighbors should have reported it. We take our kids for granted. [When kids] are hit by adults, they don’t report it to the police – the law against [beating children] must be upheld. Murder and sexual assault are on the same level – they both need to be punished harshly.
Our society is so idiotic, justifying domestic abuse of children.
It was the mother’s cruel and unusual ‘training methods’ that led her son to kill her. Still, I do not think it was justified for the son to kill his mother, who carried him for ten months in her stomach and raised him.
He did something bad but his parents are also at fault…I believe he regrets what he did…this is really sad.
This makes me so sad. Why is the world like this?
Oh oh oh…there are lots of homosexuals in prison. You better watch yo’ ass!
He got so mad (he let himself get hit by the golf club instead of snatching it away) he killed his mother? And he’s a student? I couldn’t even imagine doing such a thing. There is something wrong with him [in the head]. This has to be one of the most vulgar things I have ever heard of. Normal people do not kill each other; there is something wrong with him. Life in solitary confinement sounds about right, a life for a life. He had planned to murder his mother. This is not a movie or a video game…
That’s no reason to kill your mother. The law must be upheld! He must be severely punished so more incidents like this do not happen!
He’s clearly a psychopath as demonstrated by this incident. And nobody noticed what had happened for 8 months? Even when there’s a murder the probability of society not being able to adapt to the death penalty is still high.
Death by dismemberment should be re-introduced.
Murderers in Korea only spend a short amount of time in prison, so when they get out, I think it doesn’t stop them at all and the number of murders increase.
If he hated it so much why didn’t he just run away from home…I really think there’s something wrong with him in the head.
If you hit a child in America you get reported to the police…