Leesburg woman accused of killing husband said he had affair, police say at hearing


The home of Dae Hwang, 57, and husband Kyung in Leesburg, Va., in March. (Ian Shapira/The Washington Post)

A 57-year-old Leesburg woman charged with first-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of her husband was convinced that he had an extramarital affair and fathered a child outside the marriage, according to testimony at a preliminary hearing Thursday.

Dae Hwang called police shortly after 6 a.m. March 2 and told them that she had killed her husband, Kyung Hwang, 63, authorities said. Kyung was found dead with multiple stab wounds in an upstairs bedroom of their home on Chickasaw Place. One of the wounds penetrated Kyung’s skull, according to court records.

At the hearing Thursday, Leesburg police officer Brian Church — who was first to respond to the scene — testified that Dae told him where to find her husband when authorities arrived at the house.

“She stated, ‘He’s upstairs in the bedroom to the right,’ ” he said.

Dae appeared in Loudoun County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court clad in an orange-and-white jumpsuit and glasses, her ankles shackled. She sat quietly between Deputy Public Defender Bonnie Hoffman and a Korean interpreter as Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Sean Morgan played a recording of her 911 call.


Dae Hwang (Courtesy of Loudoun County Sheriff's Office)

In the recording, Dae’s voice is calm and steady as she talks to the dispatcher.

“Hi, my name is Dae Hwang. . . . I killed my husband,” she says.

“You what?” the dispatcher asks.

“I killed my husband,” Dae repeats, her voice louder and clearer.

Several law enforcement officers described the crime scene in gruesome detail Thursday. Kyung was found facedown in a pool of blood beside a bed with the electrical cord of a portable radiator wrapped around his neck, according to testimony. Two knives were found in the room, they said, and one appeared to have blood on the tip.

Dae, who was arrested when police arrived, was calm and cooperative, several witnesses said. At one point, officers removed her handcuffs because she was not considered a threat.

Detective Christopher Vogel said Dae told him that her husband had been abusive, that he had tried to kill her in July 2012, and that he had fathered a child about 10 years ago with a woman he was involved with romantically.

Detective Jesse Zappia, the lead investigator, testified that Dae told him that her husband had assaulted her before she killed him.

When Zappia took Dae before the magistrate and described the appearance of her husband’s body — including the electrical cord around his neck — Dae interrupted him and said her husband had put the cord around her neck first, Zappia said.

Officers testified that they saw cuts on Dae’s right hand as well as bruises on her torso and shoulder but that there were no visible injuries on her neck, they said.

Neighbors in Edwards Landing, a subdivision near Tuscarora High School, told The Post previously that they were shocked by the sudden act of violence. The Korean couple, who became U.S. citizens a few years ago, had always been friendly and generous with others in the community, neighbors said.

A judge ruled that there was enough evidence to send the case to a grand jury. Dae remains held without bond in the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center.

Caitlin Gibson covers Loudoun County for The Washington Post.
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