Lee Chun-jae, who ad­mit­ted to hav­ing com­mit­ted mul­ti­ple mur­ders back in the 1980s and 1990s in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Prov­ince, con­fessed to po­lice that he was be­hind the eighth killing, which had been be­lieved to be a copy­cat crime.

Man jailed for 8th Hwaseong case claims in­no­cence af­ter Lee’s con­fes­sion

The Korea Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Kim Hyun-bin hyun­[email protected]­re­atimes.co.kr

Lee Chun-jae, who ad­mit­ted to hav­ing com­mit­ted mul­ti­ple mur­ders back in the 1980s and 1990s in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Prov­ince, con­fessed to po­lice that he was be­hind the eighth killing, which had been be­lieved to be a copy­cat crime.

If the 56-year-old’s con­fes­sion is true, this means a man sur­named Yoon, 52, who served close to 20 years of a life sen­tence for the mur­der, was wrong­fully ac­cused and im­pris­oned as he claimed.

Yoon is cur­rently in the process of hir­ing a lawyer to get a re­trial and hold the po­lice of­fi­cers and pros­e­cu­tors in charge of his case ac­count­able.

On Sept. 16, 1988, Yoon was ac­cused of rap­ing and killing a 13-year-old girl at her house in Hwaseong. The killing was dif­fer­ent from the pre­vi­ous seven mur­ders, which were com­mit­ted in re­mote fields and the killer bound the vic­tims with their un­der­wear or stock­ings.

Po­lice found a hair at the scene and con­firmed it be­longed to some­one with the blood type B — Lee’s blood type is O — and con­tained cad­mium. As a re­sult, po­lice be­lieved the mur­derer had a job ex­pos­ing him to heavy met­als. DNA test­ing was un­avail­able at the time due to the lack of rel­e­vant tech­nol­ogy.

Yoon, a 22-year-old farm­ing ma­chine re­pair­man who lived near the vic­tim’s home, was named a sus­pect, and he ad­mit­ted to the crime dur­ing po­lice ques­tion­ing. He was then sen­tenced to life in prison, and was re­leased on pa­role in 2009 for good be­hav­ior af­ter serv­ing 19 years and six months.

A prison guard at Cheongju De­ten­tion Cen­ter, where Yoon was in­car­cer­ated, and other in­mates there re­cently said that Yoon had con­sis­tently main­tained he was in­no­cent. Ac­cord­ing to them, Yoon said he had to make a false con­fes­sion be­cause the po­lice of­fi­cers were tor­tur­ing him, not let­ting him sleep and as­sault­ing him to the point that he feared for his life.

The guard told a lo­cal daily news­pa­per that Yoon was “naive and clumsy” and that he was an easy tar­get as he was an or­phan who did not even at­tend el­e­men­tary school. Yoon had no money to hire a lawyer and did not know how to de­fend him­self, he said.

“He still re­mem­bers the names of the po­lice of­fi­cers who tor­tured him and the pros­e­cu­tor who in­dicted him. He talked about this at his ap­peals trial, but failed be­cause there wasn’t enough ev­i­dence,” said the guard, who helped Yoon get a job af­ter his pa­role and has been in con­tact with him ever since.

“Yoon con­tin­u­ously in­sisted he was in­no­cent from the first day of his im­pris­on­ment,” the guard said.

Soon af­ter Lee con­fessed to the crime, the guard said Yoon called him filled with hope that he would be able to prove his in­no­cence.

The guard said Yoon is pre­par­ing to re­quest a re­trial to prove his in­no­cence and hold the in­ves­ti­ga­tors re­spon­si­ble.

Fol­low­ing Lee’s con­fes­sion, po­lice said they re­cently met Yoon, who in­sisted he was not guilty of the crime. They said they would look into not only the eighth case but all the crimes Lee has con­fessed to hav­ing com­mit­ted.

Yon­hap

On the left is a fa­cial com­pos­ite of the Hwaseong se­rial killer drawn up in the 1980s based on wit­ness tes­ti­mony, and on the right is a high school photo of Lee Chun-jae who was iden­ti­fied re­cently as the killer based on DNA ev­i­dence.

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