|National Police Agency Commissioner General Min Gap-ryong answers questions about the Hwaseong serial murder cases during a parliamentary audit at the National Police Agency in central Seoul, Oct. 4. Yonhap|
By Jung Min-ho
A man who spent nearly 20 years in prison for raping and killing a teenage girl is seeking a retrial to be exonerated after the notorious Hwaseong serial killer claimed responsibility for what was believed to be a "copycat'' murder.
Lawyer Park Joon-young said Wednesday he will represent the man, 52, surnamed Yoon.
"For Yoon, this is a heaven-sent opportunity (to prove his innocence). I won't waste it," Park wrote on Facebook. "I will form a team of lawyers and, once completed, reveal their names."
The development comes after Lee Chun-jae, 56, the prime suspect in at least nine murders between September 1986 and April 1991, claimed responsibility for the Sept. 16, 1988 so-called "copycat" murder ― 30 years after Yoon was convicted of killing the girl, 13, surnamed Park.
Speaking to Channel A, a local broadcaster, Yoon claimed police forced him to make a false confession after they assaulted and tortured him.
Yoon, then 22, was arrested in 1989 for killing the girl at her home. He was later sentenced to life in prison, which the Supreme Court upheld in May 1990. After spending 19 years and six months behind bars, he was released in 2009 for good behavior.
Even after the final verdict, Yoon reportedly insisted on his innocence to other inmates.
But a police officer who investigated the case denied Yoon's allegations against investigators.
"We found a pubic hair at the crime scene and eventually found out that it belonged to him. With the strong evidence, we did not have any reason to torture him," the police officer told Newsis. "Lee is the prime suspect in the Hwaseong serial murder cases. His false testimony should not be trusted."
During a parliamentary audit last week, National Police Agency Commissioner General Min Gap-ryong promised to look closely into all the crimes claimed by Lee to find the truth.