Return Trip To U.s. Costs Korean 5 Years In Prison

November 17, 1991|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff writer

A native Korean who pleaded guilty to killing his ex-wife's boyfriend with an ax has been ordered to serve a five-year prison sentence for violating a court order that he leave the United States and never return.

After pleading guilty to manslaughter last January, Deuk HoKim agreed to be deported to Korea. Stay out of the United States and you stay out of prison, he was told.

Kim already had been in the county detention center five months, and the balance of his five-year sentence was suspended when he was deported last March.

But a tip from an anonymous caller led authorities to arrest Kim Sept. 23 in a parking lot at a hotel near Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Circuit Judge H. Chester Goudy Jr. found Kim guilty of violating the terms of his probation Friday andordered him to serve the balance of his sentence.

In an Oct. 30 letter included in his court file, Kim wrote that he had misunderstoodthe conditions of his probation. He said he was working for a company in Korea and was on a business trip to Canada when he decided to "stop over" in the United States to try to persuade his wife to return with him to Korea.

Kim wrote the ordeal has been a "nightmare" forhis family.

Kim, 39, had been charged with first-degree murder inthe death of 33-year-old Sung Joo Kim in August 1990.

In a court hearing last January, Assistant State's Attorney Cynthia M. Ferris said the two men had argued over Sung Joo Kim's failure to financially support Deuk Ho Kim's ex-wife's two children, who live in Korea.

Sung Joo Kim invited Deuk Ho Kim into the house in the 8000 block of New Colony Road in Severn, then grabbed an ax and threatened to kill him, the prosecutor said.

The men argued, but then sat down on the floor, and Sung Joo Kim fell asleep. Deuk Ho Kim then "seized the opportunity" to grab the ax and strike the other man in the neck and torso, killing him, Ferris said.

Kim put the body in two plastic bagsand left them in a trash bin in New Jersey, where the body was recovered. Kim turned himself in to Baltimore County police two days later.

Speaking through an interpreter at the January hearing, Kim said, "I admit I did kill a man, but . . . he tried to kill me first."

Assistant Public Defender Kendel L. Sibiski said she would appeal the ruling on the grounds that Maryland law, unlike federal law, forbids a judge to set voluntary deportation as a condition for probation.

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