A South Korean court today sentenced a man to death for 20 killings in the country’s worst serial murder case in decades.
Yoo Young-chul, 33, who has a history of convictions for theft and sexual abuse, was indicted in August for the murders. Many of the victims were female prostitutes and older, wealthy people.
“This is a serious crime and it is difficult to find a similar case in the history of crime in our country,” the panel of judges said at Seoul Central District Court, according to a Yonhap news agency report.
Even though Yoo expressed regret at trial, the judges said they decided on the maximum penalty “considering the pain the anti-social behaviour caused to the bereaved families and the shock it had given society.”
Yoo has seven days to file an appeal.
The case shocked South Korea, a relatively safe nation of 48 million people where the murder rate hovers just below 1,000 a year.
Police say Yoo blamed his past misfortunes on women and wealthy people.
He allegedly lured prostitutes to his apartment – using different mobile telephones to avoid being traced – then killed them with a hammer and dismembered their bodies.
The killing spree began in September 2003, when police say Yoo murdered a 73-year-old professor and his wife.