South Korean police say innocent man may have been jailed for 1980s Hwaseong murder
SEOUL (The Korea Herald/ANN) - Cold case takes another twist as serial killer suspect says he committed murder for which another man was convicted.
Police are examining the possibility that they may have charged the wrong man 30 years ago for a rape and murder that occurred in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province.
Gyeonggi Nambu Provincial Police Agency said in a briefing Thursday morning Lee Chun-jae, who has confessed to a series of similar killings, might be responsible for the eighth of 10 rape-murders that took place between 1986-91, for which a different man was convicted.
The rape and murder of a 13-year-old girl surnamed Park on Sept. 16, 1988, was believed to be a copycat killing, and was the only one of the 10 cases that were solved with the killer caught.
Police said last week Lee that confessed to five additional murders and some 30 rapes and attempted sexual assaults.
In the 11th round of questioning on Oct. 4, Lee told police they included the 1988 rape-murder of Park.
But another man surnamed Yun was convicted for the murder, sentenced to life and served 19.5 years in jail before being released on parole in 2009. Yun was in his early 20s at the time of the offense.
Police said Yun admitted guilt during questioning, and that he was pinned as a key suspect after a forensic test of pubic hair samples found at the scene suggested similarities with his.
However, court record shows Yun appealed the ruling at the time, alleging that police wrung false confessions from him through torture.
According to the 1990 sentencing memo, Yun claimed he “gave a false testimony due to severe torture inflicted on (him) by police.”
Gyeonggi Police said they are in the process of “weighing the veracity of both Lee and Yun’s claims.”
Police said Yun pleaded innocence in two meetings last week. Police said they are speaking with authorities who were in charge of the investigation at the time.
On Wednesday, a lawyer representing Yun said in a Facebook post his client intends to bring the case back to court. If his innocence is proven, Yun is entitled to around 1.7 billion won ($1.4 million) in compensation from the state.
A team of profilers grilled Lee for the 14th time Thursday. Gyeonggi Nambu Provincial Police Agency Superintendent General Ban Ki-soo said Lee has given “substantial details” about the murder of the 13-year-old to “reasonably suspect” him of responsibility.
Lee, who was identified as a prime suspect in the cold case serial killings following DNA matches in three of the murders, is serving a life term in a Busan prison for the 1994 rape and murder of his sister-in-law.