Seoul Court Imposes Life Sentence on Suspect in Hiking Trail Murder

SEOUL - A Seoul court delivered a life sentence to Choi Yun-jong, 30, on Monday for the attempted rape and murder of a woman on a hiking trail in the Sillim neighborhood of Seoul. The incident, which occurred on August 17 last year, involved the fatal assault and attempted sexual assault of an elementary school teacher in her 30s.

According to Yonhap News Agency, Choi was convicted for the brutal attack in which he beat, throttled, and attempted to rape the victim he selected at random on the trail. Despite Choi's claim that he only tried to block the victim's mouth, the court found that he intended to kill. Evidence showed Choi applying strong pressure to the victim's neck for several minutes, leading to her death two days after the attack.

The court emphasized the irreversible damage caused by the crime and the immense suffering of the victim's family. It highlighted the need to prevent such crimes against women in public spaces during daylight. While the prosecution demanded the death penalty, the court opted for a life sentence with limited chances of parole, citing Choi's history as a reclusive individual with untreated depression and a personality disorder.

Under current law, life imprisonment allows for parole consideration after 20 years. However, given the public outrage over the case, the court suggested that parole possibilities be restricted for Choi.

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