Updated Fri, Mar 7, 2014 10:11 am
A man convicted of the 1993 murder of an Ohio University student has been denied parole and his release will not be considered again for five years, according to a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
Hyunchoel “Charles” Park, 45, had a parole hearing Thursday, but his case was continued to March 2019, the spokeswoman said.
Park was convicted of killing a friend, Ki-Chul “Andrew” Jung, whose body was found stuffed in a trunk along Route 50 in West Virginia, although the killing occurred in Athens.
Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn wrote a letter to the parole board opposing Park’s release.
Park was sentenced to a total of 21 1/2 years to life in prison after a deal was reached in which he pleaded guilty to murder, a gun specification, tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse. He had originally faced the possibility of a death sentence on an aggravated murder charge before the plea bargain was reached. He has been in prison since March 1994, and before Thursday’s decision was last denied parole in 2009.
At the time of Park’s sentencing in Athens County Common Pleas Court, his attorney told the court that Park was showing Jung a handgun when it accidentally discharged and Jung was hit in the head. According to the attorney, Jung panicked and shot Jung a second time in the head to end his pain.
Subsequent prosecutors who have opposed Park’s release have said that investigators believed that Park also beat Jung with a golf club during the incident, and have said that after the killing Park went to Atlantic City and gambled with money taken from Jung.
“Mr. Park needs to remain incarcerated in order to protect the public and to ensure that Mr. Park cannot create new victims,” Blackburn wrote to the parole board. “Just based on the sheer brutality of the murder in this case, it is my opinion that Mr. Park remains a threat to society and in no way should be returned to community after committing such a heinous crime.”