As Man Ha Park drove bleary-eyed from Oregon to Fairfax County last June, he was a desperate man, attorneys said. He had left his wife for another woman, but she had spurned him. The move ruined his name in the Korean community and he could not find work.
So when Park, 54, arrived outside his ex-girlfriend’s apartment about 4 a.m. on June 6, 2011, he had decided on a plan to get back at those whom he blamed for his downfall, a prosecutor said.
Park entered the Centreville home and stabbed his ex-girlfriend’s sister, Mi Hwa Kim, 24 times, killing her. When his ex-girlfriend, Shanna Kim, ran out of her bedroom and begged him to stop, Park slashed her in the neck and stomach and left her for dead.
On Monday, Park pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and malicious wounding in Fairfax County court. He could be sentenced to as much as life in prison plus 20 years at a hearing scheduled for November.
“He was part of a very close-knit Korean culture. As part of that culture, he was shamed,” said public defender Todd Petit, explaining the fallout from Park leaving his wife. “He couldn’t find work because of that shame.”
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney David Gardy said Shanna Kim had left Park because he was unwilling to find work as a sushi chef, his trade.
After Park attacked Shanna Kim, he went to her bedroom and placed a picture of her there with the words “best friend” scrawled on it, and a note on green stationery. He called a pastor and then sank a knife into his abdomen, attempting to take his own life, Gardy said.
Shanna Kim, bleeding profusely, crawled to a bathroom and locked the door, Gardy said. After a while, she heard nothing, so she crawled out of the bathroom and out of the apartment, where a neighbor saw her and called police, Gardy said.
Shanna Kim was taken to the hospital in critical condition, but recovered. Park, who Petit said suffered from clinical depression, was also taken to the hospital and treated.
In the note he left in Shanna Kim’s bedroom, he blamed her sister for coming between them. He called her a “liar” and “rag picker” and a “devil at heart” in the letter, Gardy said.
Park, according to Gardy, said he wanted to be with Shanna Kim in the next life, which is why he wanted to kill her.