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Supreme court upholds life sentence for rapist-murderer

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a lower court’s decision to sentence a man, convicted of raping and killing a teenage girl in Busan last year, to life imprisonment and make public his personal information for 10 years.

The heinous crime perpetrated by Kim Gil-tae, 33, sent a shockwave across the nation, prompting anxious parents into calling for tougher government measures to deal with child sex criminals.

Kim was arrested in Busan on March 10 after killing the 13-year-old middle-school girl whom he had abducted on Feb. 24. The victim, surnamed Lee, was found dead on March 6 inside a rooftop water tank. She was naked, covered with lime powder and had been wrapped in a plastic bag. DNA matching Kim’s was detected on her body.

Kim was also charged with kidnapping and raping another woman, and stealing money from a hair salon while he was on the loose after killing Lee.

A district court meted out a death sentence to him in June, saying that it recognized his conviction with clear evidence despite his denial of the charges.

However, an appellate court commuted the sentence to life in prison in December, contending that the killing was not premeditated and that he took the life of only one person.

By Song Sang-ho (sshluck@heraldcorp.com)
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