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Murder trial in jurors' hands

Attorneys give closing arguments in case of man accused of stabbing girlfriend to death.

August 28, 2010|By Veronica Rocha,

BURBANK — Jurors began deliberating Friday in the four-day trial of a 48-year-old Glendale man accused of stabbing his girlfriend to death on the kitchen floor of her home.

Jurors heard testimony from police detectives, neighbors, family members and doctors during the trial for Soo Duk Kim, who is charged with the first-degree murder of 52-year-old Susan Kim.

On Friday morning, jurors also heard attorneys on both sides give their final arguments.

"This was a very tragic case on both sides," said Soo Duk Kim's attorney, James Bisnow.

Soo Duk Kim was arrested Dec. 17, 2007, in a Koreatown motel, a day after his girlfriend was found dead inside her Raymond Avenue home in Glendale.


At the same motel, Glendale police detectives found a bag containing bloodied clothes belonging to Soo Duk Kim inside a trash bin, officials said.

He later admitted to Glendale detectives that he killed Susan Kim, Deputy Dist. Atty. Carolina Lugo said.

He had apparently grown angry at Susan Kim when she discovered he had been smoking marijuana and took away his keys and told him to return to Korea, she said.

Susan Kim's daughter, Jane Moon, testified that her mother and Soo Duk Kim had been arguing on Dec. 16, 2007. That same day, Moon found her mother dead.

Soo Duk Kim, dressed in a suit, showed little emotion or movement as he looked on while listening to a translator through earphones. Bisnow told jurors that the couple had no history of domestic violence, adding that they had engaged in a domestic quarrel on the day Susan Kim was killed.

"There was no premeditation or plan," Bisnow told jurors.

The argument between the couple became heated, and he grabbed her head and slammed it against a wall, Lugo argued.

She displayed several photographs in her closing argument of a hole in the wall where Susan Kim's head had been slammed.

After she fell to the kitchen floor, Soo Duk Kim walked over to a butcher block, retrieved a knife and returned to stab her six times in her upper torso, Lugo told jurors.

A coroner investigator testified that one of the stab wounds was 5 inches deep, slicing through Susan Kim's heart.

After the stabbing, Lugo said Soo Duk Kim placed a towel over her face because her eyes were open.

"This is not a whodunit," she told jurors. "We know it was the defendant and how he did it."

Bisnow contended that his client had a hallucination, which was the result of being a "schizoaffective disorder bipolar-type," before killing Susan Kim.

He added that Soo Duk Kim tried committing suicide after the stabbing, and then again while in jail.

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