He spent 20 years in prison for murder, someone else confessed to the same crime - SALIENT TIMES ONLINE

He spent 20 years in prison for murder, someone else confessed to the same crime

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In the fall of 1988, a 13-year-old was raped and murdered in her bed.

The crime would have been shocking anywhere else, but in Hwaseong, then a rural area near South Korea’s capital Seoul, murders like this were happening with disturbing regularity.

She was the eighth female to be murdered there in two years.

Nearly a year after the teen was killed, police arrived at the house of a 22-year-old repairman, just as he was about to eat dinner.

“What’s this about?” Yoon, whose full name is not being published due to a South Korean law that protects the privacy of suspects and criminals, remembers asking.

“It won’t take long,” he says police replied.

The officers took him to a small interrogation room with a single table at the local police station where they questioned him for three days about the 13-year-old’s rape and murder.

Eventually, they extracted a confession.

Yoon told police that on the night of the murder, he had gone for a walk to get some air, according to records of his confession obtained from his attorney.

During the walk, he had to stop several times to rest — his childhood polio had left him with a limp so bad that he had been exempted from compulsory military service.

Around midnight, Yoon saw a house with a light on and felt a sudden “urge for rape,” he told police, according to transcripts of his confession.

He climbed into the house and attacked the young girl, although he told police he knew the parents were asleep next door.

Afterward, he burned his clothes and went home, according to the confessions.

Little is known about the girl and her family, who have never spoken to media.

Yoon’s story is somewhat clearer: He was convicted of raping and murdering the 13-year-old girl and sentenced to life in prison, though his sentence was later reduced on appeal.

He was released after 20 years in prison. The problem is, Yoon says he didn’t do it.