- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 22, 2009

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (AP) - A South Korean court Wednesday convicted and handed down a death sentence to a masseur charged with killing 10 people, including his wife and mother-in-law.

Kang Ho-sun, 38, was indicted in February in the slayings of eight office workers, karaoke bar employees and university students after abducting them between September 2006 and December 2008. Prosecutors said he had confessed to those slayings.

Kang, who worked as a sports massage therapist, was also accused of burning to death his wife and mother-in-law in 2005 in an attempt to win insurance money. He denied those charges, saying the blaze was accidental and that he barely escaped.

However, the court in Ansan, south of Seoul, found Kang guilty of all charges and sentenced him to death.

“The defendant mercilessly killed these innocent people only to fulfill his greed or sexual desire,” the court said in a verdict released to reporters.

Kang must be put to death because of the high chance he would commit crimes again, the court said.

Although courts still hand out the death penalty, the country has had a de facto moratorium on capital punishment and has not executed anyone since December 1997.

There was no word yet on whether Kang would appeal the verdict.

The serial killings were the worst in South Korea since Yoo Young-chul was convicted and sentenced to death in 2004 for killing 20 people, mostly prostitutes and wealthy elderly people.

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