Chong Sun Kim placed an urn containing her husband’s ashes on the bar in front of King County Superior Court Judge William Downing on Friday and through a Korean interpreter, tearfully spoke of the kind, hardworking father of two who was fatally shot by a former Microsoft programmer in November 2011.
“This year we would be celebrating our 18th wedding anniversary. My husband is a righteous man. That’s why I married him,” said the widow of Jin Young Kim, who was slain in a Bellevue apartment in November 2011 by his employer’s husband, Sung Ho Kim.
The two men are not related.
Sung Ho Kim, his voice barely audible despite his use of a microphone, told the packed courtroom that he was deeply sorry.
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“I’m sorry for what I’ve done to Mr. Kim’s family. I wish none of this had happened,” he said. “ … It’s my fault. I take full responsibility for this.”
Downing sentenced Kim to 13 years in prison, adding six months to a sentence the state and defense had jointly recommended. Kim pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder with a deadly weapon.
“The pain you feel is deep and apparent,” Downing told Chong Sun Kim. He later said, “I do believe the defendant took responsibility after the crime … and that is commendable.”
One of Kim’s defense attorneys, Peter Offenbecher, said his client was in the midst of an emotional and psychiatric breakdown when he pulled a gun on Jin Young Kim. He didn’t mean to kill him, but the gun went off, Offenbecher said.
Since the shooting, Kim, 45, has suffered from post-traumatic stress and “debilitating depression” that has made him suicidal, he said.
“He is terribly, terribly repentant and regretful. He is full of remorse and he is terribly ashamed of what he has done,” Offenbecher said.
According to court records, Sung Ho Kim suspected Jin Young Kim was having an affair with his wife and went to the Bellevue apartment where she ran a business.
The wife told detectives she had a relationship with Jin Young Kim, but that it was emotional and not physical, charging papers say.
Charging papers say the two men argued, with Sung Ho Kim wanting the victim to be fired and to stay away from his family, while Jin Young Kim declared he couldn’t be fired because he had a contract.
Jin Young Kim demanded $500,000 to withdraw from the business and leave Sung’s family alone, the court documents say.
Sung Ho Kim allegedly became enraged, pulled out a Glock 9mm handgun and shot Jin Young Kim once in the head, according to the charging papers. He then tossed the weapon out of a window and told his wife to call 911, the papers say.
The weapon was later found on the ground outside the window, the papers say. Sung Ho Kim was arrested at the scene.
Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.